By Edwina McDonald
How often do we hear the saying- use your gut instinct. There is no doubt that there is a link between your digestive system and your mind/ mood.
In today’s fast paced, stressful society there has been an explosion of food intolerances and digestive issues, suggesting the link between our mind and gut is strong. So with the gut commonly being referred to as our second brain how do we promote a healthy gut microbiome?
- Minimise the use of antibiotics; antibiotics upset the good bacteria in our gut. Try and limit your use of antibiotics so you only use them when necessary. This is also important to avoid antibiotic resistance. Always consult your Dr before starting or stopping a medication.
- Probiotics; these are the live microorganisms of the good bacteria that help balance gut flora to bring about a healthy gut environment. Food rich in probiotics include yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, miso soup and blue and aged cheeses. While there is minimal harm for healthy individuals taking a probiotic in supplement form, there is insufficient evidence as to the required dosage and type of probiotic to have a positive impact on gut health
- Prebiotics; these are the food for probiotics. Prebiotics are a kind of fibre that pass through our colon undigested and act as fuel for probiotics and maintain the activity of the good bacteria. Aiming for the recommended 25-30g of fibre daily will help promote a healthy gut environment. Foods high in prebiotics include; chick peas, legumes, artichokes, cashews, garlic, onion, beetroot, peas, corn, asparagus, barley, rye, soy beans and pistachios to name a few.
- Reduce processed foods; packaged and processed foods are often high in saturated fat, salt and low in fibre. Common additives in processed foods that prolong shelf life and improve texture may also inflame the gut
To promote a healthy gut and avoiding symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, wind and constipation make sure your diet contains minimal processed and high sugar foods and that you are consuming your 25-30g of dietary fibre daily. It is also important to exercise regularly, drink plenty of water and minimise stress.
Edwina McDonald is available for appointments at 120 Collins and Docklands.