7 Tips for Great Gut Health

By Teresa Palmer

1. Consume Coconut keffir
This is the magical Elixr that works wonders for your gut. There are huge amounts of benefits, my favourites being;
  • It's loaded with probiotics that support the immune system whilst defending against bacteria growth.
  • It has anti-carcinogenic properties, meaning it’s a kick ass cancer fighting food!
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties and that it can help reduce the side effects of asthma and allergies by changing the body's response to the trigger points for these health ailments.
  • It helps fight digestive issues such as constipation, diarrhoea, IBS, encouraging healthy elimination!

2. Get on board with pre-biotics
Prebiotics are types of dietary fibre that feed the good bacteria in our bodies. It helps reduce our disease risk, is associated with stronger bones, rebalances hormones, aids weight loss and improves overall better health.

Prebiotics can be found in: Our Lovewell nutritional supplements, garlic, raw onions, banana, chicory root, dandelion, oats, leeks, artichokes, chickpeas, lentils.. the list goes on!

3. Stress less
You know those days when everything feels like it’s getting on top of you and you don’t know where to turn or how to get through the day? This is stress!

Stress affects every aspect of our lives and can have detrimental effects on our health - none moreso than our gut health.

Our brains have a direct effect on our stomach and intestines and ongoing stress will have a negative impact on the healthy bacteria in our guts. When we are in a state of anxiety or fear and experience fight or flight mode, the blood flow to our gut is compromised.

Our gut produces the good bacteria, and contrary to popular belief, our gut produces more serotonin in our bodies than our brain does. So when our gut health is compromised, so too is the production of serotonin. This makes it easy to get stuck in a cyclical pattern of ill health as we can’t rely on serotonin that’s not there to bail us out. So, stress less guys!

Here are some suggestions on how to stress less:

    • Focus on deep breathing. Take a breath in for a count of 4, hold for 3 seconds, and release over 6 counts. Yogi’s call our breath the “life force”.
    • Take a break from your screen. Prolonged screen use has been associated with insomnia, depression and low moods. Use your devices in moderation. If you start noticing a lull in energy it’s time to switch off and do something else.
    • Take time out to do something that serves you. Maybe that’s soaking in a bath listening to a favourite podcast, having a massage or catching up with a friend you feel connected to.
    • Exercise helps trigger the release of serotonin. Find something active that appeals to you and dedicate time at least a few days per week to honouring this part of your mental health.
    • Take a walk in nature to relax and re-energise. Having some quiet time to be with your thoughts can really help to alleviate stress levels.
    • Listen to relaxing music. Anything that leaves you feeling calm and peaceful is good!

4. Buy the bulk of your groceries from the perimeter aisles
The fresh produce is always stored in the perimeter aisles of your supermarket.

Choosing to eat a plant-based diet high in fresh fruits and organic veggies will do wonders for your gut health. Really, it’s a no brainer. Stick to plant-based foods and steer away from the majority of items found in a package as these are typically processed foods with most of their nutrition stripped away. These kinds of foods do not serve your health.

Now, we don’t want to completely write off the middles aisles as there is a place for those foods too, but be sure to check ingredients for any fillers and make sure you’re picking foods with a low sugar and sodium content. Some good examples include:
  • Low sodium canned beans.
  • Brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta.
  • Avocado, cold pressed olive, grasped, and coconut oils.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Organic sourdough bread, 100% whole wheat bread.
  • Apple cider vinegar.

5. Chew slowly
It’s pretty simple really, slowing down the chewing of your food allow your body to digest food whilst it’s still in your mouth, making it less taxing on your system to break it down.

Relaxing while you eat really helps to support the nerves in your digestive system. Other benefits to slowing down whilst eating include; easier weight loss, improved hydration, reduced risk of indigestion and reflux, and the likelihood of enjoying your food even more (who doesn’t want that?!)

6. Feast on fermented foods
Fermented foods are a god send to your health, they're rich in probiotics which help keep your gut flourishing the way it should by promoting healthy bacteria growth. Consuming fermented foods have been known to alleviate IBS, bloating and constipation, aid digestion and immunity.

Fermented foods have also been proven to improve feelings of sadness, anxiety and overall stress to the body. They've also been associated to weightloss and reducing the risk of heart disease. So, with all this in mind where do you find fermented food?

Almost all vegetables can be fermented. If you’re game you can ferment foods on your own. There are tons of sites online that will walk you through the process. Otherwise you can buy them from most local supermarkets. My favourite fermented products are sauerkraut, tempeh, kombucha, kimchi, pickles and miso.
    Tip 7: Don’t be obsessively clean!
    I’m not one of those clean freaks, I don’t mind getting dirty and don’t freak out when my kids are playing in a way that leaves them filthy at the end of the day. If we drop food on the floor and it can be brushed off, we do and I don’t stop my kids from eating it.
    In 1989 researcher David Strachan’s Hygiene Hypothesis was established, and we became more educated on the benefits of healthy bacteria and how being overly clean can be counter-productive. Whilst the idea behind hygiene hypothesis has evolved since the 80s, it's still a profound piece of work that led to many folks wondering if being “too clean” was affecting our health.
    Bacteria is a part of our natural environment and inevitable exposure to it promotes the development of a healthy immune system in our kids. An immature immune system will start to learn which antigens are harmless and which are harmful, building a stronger defensive system when faced with the not-so-good-for-you bacteria.
    So liberate yourself from the idea that every surface needs to be disinfected and spic and span to avoid exposure to nasties. It’s all about balance; we can reduce the risk of allergic disease by not being so freaked out about germs, whilst also protecting ourselves against infectious disease by being conscious of our surroundings, washing hands and practicing proper hygiene.
    Love, Teresa 
    Bio: Teresa Palmer is the mother to Bodhi, Forest and Poet and stepmother to Isaac. She's passionate about wellness, conscious parenting, spirituality, animal rights, philanthropy and holistic living.

    Teresa is an actress, co-founder of parenting blog Your Zen Mama, founder of wellness blog Your Zen Life and co-founder of Lovewell alongside Christiane Duigan. She resides with her family in the hills of Adelaide and Los Angeles. 

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