Simple steps to keep your gut health in check for optimal performance

Extract from The Mystery Gut by Prof Kerryn Phelps.

The gut is the food tester, taster, processor and extractor, turning food into fuel to make the body run efficiently, which is why we want to give to the best food we possibly can.

There’s also an important link between the health of your mystery gut and how you feel, that is, your emotional and mental wellbeing. Gut cells produce around 50 per cent of the body’s calming hormone, dopamine and around 95 per cent of the body’s mood hormone, serotonin.

To improve the diversity of your gut microbiome, (the ensemble of microorganisms living in the gastrointestinal tract) follow these simple steps:

  1. Eat whole foods

That are rich in fibre and low in sugar. Avoid processed foods that are high in sugar and trans fats, dietary advanced glycation end-products (dAGEs) and food additives, colourings and preservatives.

2. Reduce exposure to toxins

Don’t smoke, avoid excess alcohol and exposture to chemicals and not taking unnecessary pharmaceuticals.

 3. Take supplements if low in vitamins and minerals

If with a healthy diet you appear clinically deficient or are shown on tests to be low in vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, B and iron take a supplement.

4. Exercise regularly

Regular exercise can improve and maintain the diversity of gut flora.

5. Sleep well

Try to keep your body’s circadian rhythms (day and night cycles) in sync with nature for better sleep and to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

6. Manage your stress levels

Do your best to improve your relationships and social networks, and find a way that suits you to practive medication and mindfulness.

7. Get in touch with nature

Integrate more contact with green spaces and pets into your life, get your bare feet on some grass and/or sand and try to spend some time on a farm or in nature.

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