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What we eat affects all our organs, but it’s the gut that has to deal most directly with our dietary choices. A poor diet, high in processed foods, can cause constipation and inflammation, and could lead to more serious conditions.
How do we look after our gut? The traditional Mediterranean diet (without the processed meats) is one answer: high in fruit, vegetables and omega-3 oils, but low in saturated fat, sugar and processed food.
We can also show our gut some love by eating individual nutrients that support gut health.
Curcumin is a compound from the spice turmeric and can reduce inflammation and support digestive comfort. Turmeric isn’t only good in curries – it’s also great sprinkled on eggs and green vegetables, and stirred into milk as a night time drink.
Green Tea contains antioxidant compounds and is a good choice to replace our regular tea or coffee. It may also help maintain healthy gut flora.
Eat a rainbow diet, full of different coloured vegetables, fruit, wholegrains and pulses. Fibre helps the bowel to contract and each colour provides us with different nutrients.
Pre- and pro-biotics: prebiotic foods like onions, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, asparagus and chicory are favourites of the bacteria that live in our guts. And the live bacteria found in probiotic yogurts, drinks and supplements are super-friendly to our digestive systems.
Get more calcium from foods like green vegetables, dairy products and some fish. It’s good for our bowels and strengthens our bones at the same time.
Part of our immune system is in the gut, as gut bacteria. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to immune health. We need more Vitamin D than we usually get from sunlight and we can boost our intake through oily fish, egg yolks and fortified dairy products.
And of course…
Don’t forget to exercise.
Physical activity is great because it gets the bowel moving. We might not want to think about it too much, but the longer waste sits in our bowels, the more likely we are to develop problems.