It’s easy to forget about your gut, but did you know that your gut health affects much more than just your digestive system? The gut is one of the most important elements to proper bodily functioning! The gut is where the food is broken down and transferred to other parts of the body. It is also filled with living bacteria that keep you alive, but when things turn for the worst, can also be your worst enemies! Gut health is easy to neglect, and for that reason it is super important to give your gut some love, so it can give it back to you! Outlined below are some steps that you can take to help keep your gut healthy and happy. 1. CHEW Do you remember being reprimanded by your mum about chewing slowly? Well she had a point! Slowly chewing your food and mashing it up makes it much easier for your body to digest it and absorb all of the proper nutrients. Your saliva contains enzymes which break down the food in your mouth that make it more bioavailable for the rest of our digestive system! An additional benefit of chewing slowly is that it can aid in fat loss! Chewing slowly allows your body extra time to signal your brain that you are getting full. It takes 20 minutes from when you are completely full for your body to send a signal to your brain that gives the “fullness” sensation. 2. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER The golden rule that most of us neglect on a daily basis! Water is the foundation of life, yet most of us forget to get our 8 cups in. Staying hydrated is essential for proper gut health! Drinking enough water ensures that your stool isn’t difficult to pass. When you are dehydrated, passing stool can be an uncomfortable experience and one that puts stress on your bowels. Too much stress on your bowls can cause a rupture in the bowel walls, which is not only extremely painful, but also can release bacteria into the bloodstream, affecting a wide range of bodily functions. 3. TAKE PROBIOTICS Your gut is filled with millions of good bacteria, designed to break down the food you’re eating. However, among the good there are some bacteria is not good for your body and can actually cause you to crave unhealthy foods. A poor diet, can cause an imbalance between the good and bad bacteria, leading the bad to take over the good! This is where digestive issues arise, in some cases it can also lead to allergies and even mental instability such as depression. With this in mind, it’s crucial to get the right kind of bacteria in charge. Taking a probiotic supplement (such as Yakult) or foods with naturally high probiotics (such as natural yogurt, kimchi, kefir or fermented foods) can help you restore that balance in your gut. It’s important to take these supplements daily, as research suggests it needs to be a daily intake in order for the effects to be fully realised. 4. AVOID INFLAMMATORY FOODS Although we all have different definitions of what constitutes “inflammatory foods”, it is safe to say that most refined carbs, like candy or fast food, are bad for gut health. These foods can inflame the digestive tract, and destroy the villi (small, finger-like projections on the walls of the intestines that absorb nutrients from food) in the intestines. This can have serious consequences on your gut health and health in general, as it reduces the level of nutrition that is able to be absorbed from the food you eat. A good rule of thumb is to go for unrefined whole foods, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. 5. TRY A PERIOD OF INTERMITTENT FASTING Intermittent fasting has recently risen up as one of the fastest growing diet trends in the recent years, however unlike many other diet fads, this fab has proven to be beneficial to your holistic health, including the gut! Taking a break from eating food for blocks of time, gives your digestive tract the opportunity to rest and clear out. This can also allow your gut flora to focus on things unrelated to digestion, i.e. populating themselves. So, don’t you forget about the gut! It is one of the most vital bodily systems that keep you alive and healthy on a daily basis! Make sure to follow these steps and care of it, so it can take care of you!