How to 'Marie Kondo' your gut and transform your health
Gut health has been a hot topic for some time now as we are learning more about the gut microbiome and the impact it can have on our lives. In fact, it's up there with wearing SPF as one of our top beauty priorities. Poor gut, poor skin. However, most of us don't know where to start. Drawing on the 'Marie Kondo' movement of streamlining, it got us thinking about some simple ways to improve our digestion. So we reached out to top experts in the field of gut health for some basic rules to follow.
What does your gut do?
"The gut prepares food for digestion and absorbs what you have eaten," says Dr Christine Stossier of Viva Mayr. "Therefore its ability to do this successfully is super important for overall health. As well as helping us to absorb food, it also eliminates any indigestible ingredients that your body can't absorb. Effectively, it's part of your immune system."
Your gut affects every organ in your body, so if it's not working properly it could be that your other organs are not working to their full ability or worse, they are having to over-work. Think about it. If you use a moisturiser and it brings you out in a rash, you stop using it, right? But if a food type makes you bloated or causes you to break out, you don't swear to never eat it again. But you should. We all should listen to our bodies more. According to Dr Des Fernandes of Advanced Nutrition Programme, "our skin is a mirror of what’s happening on the inside, so it’s no surprise that what we eat directly affects our complexion.
Try these three ways to improve your gut health
There are a combination of factors that contribute to the growing prevalence of gut issues," advises Dr. Ragnan Chatterjee, GP, Author of the Stress Solution. "Overuse of pharmaceutical medications such as antibiotics, poor quality food, physical inactivity, not sleeping enough and, most importantly, chronic stress, all add to an unhappy gut," he tells me.
Chronic stress is often a neglected part of gut-health-management yet we put most of our focus on food. "The gut-brain axis - multiple communication channels that go both ways between your brain and your gut - are how stress signals from your brain are transported to your gut, proving stress and unhappiness to be a huge factor in causing an unhealthy digestive system," says Chatterjee.
Eat more fibre
The most effective way to a healthier gut is your food."I'll be honest, the foods that spark joy in your gut are not the delicious salted caramel chocolates or creamy pasta dishes we all crave and loves," says Kara-Mia Verno, Naturopath and gut specialist. "Your gut likes fibre and foods that feed your gut bacteria- think beans, fresh fruit and vegetables and if you can stomach them, fermented foods such as kefir and kimchi," advises Vernon.
Chatterjee adds, "Many people who struggle with gut problems think they are diary or gluten intolerant. But it's worth stressing that some people are not actually reacting to the foods that they are eating, but reacting to the fact that they are eating in a stressed environment, on the go, in a rush or whilst answering e-mails at the same time.
For many, once you start eating in a more relaxed manner, you will find you are much less reactive to foods that you previously thought you had problems with.