Your gut is amazingly responsive to both good and bad influences. Fortunately, many good influences can help you strengthen your gut.
Scientists are now studying the link between exercise and a healthy gut. One of the early studies compared the gut health of the national rugby team of Ireland with the gut health of a group of sedentary men. Researchers found that the athletes had a far more diverse microbiome than the sedentary men did (microbial diversity is highly desirable in gut health).1
The gut microbiome is a crucial player in how often and how seriously we’re affected by a range of both acute and chronic conditions. Sleep is one of many behaviours that build and helps support a balanced and diverse gut microbiome. Getting adequate sleep not only assists with diversifying our gut health, it also helps reduce stress, which may help prevent many gastrointestinal disorders.2
Choose foods that your gut loves
A high-fat diet can prevent good gut bacteria from flourishing. Saturated fats may increase the number of inflammatory gut microbes. Research suggests that there’s a correlation between a high fat, low-fibre diet and colorectal cancer, the third most common cancer in the world.3
Incorporate some or all of the eight ‘super foods’ that scientists believe actually super-charge the gut microbiome. These are:4
1. Asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and onions
5. Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
6. Fermented plant foods
Read more about the 8 Superfoods.
1 Gut microbiota, ‘Exercise and associated dietary extremes impact on gut microbial diversity,’ June 2014.
2 European Journal of Neuroscience, ‘Novel biochemical manipulation of brain serotonin reveals a role of serotonin in the circadian rhythm of sleep–wake cycles,’ May 2012.
3 Imperial College London, ‘Diet swap has dramatic effects on colon cancer risk for Americans and Africans’, April 2015.
4 The Physicians Committee, ‘Seven Foods to Supercharge Your Gut Bacteria,’ September 2014.
5 Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, ‘Effects of probiotics on gut microbiota: mechanisms of intestinal immunomodulation and neuromodulation,’ January 2013.
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