THE IMPORTANCE OF COVID-19

Take Care of Your Gut

by Wellness Advisor, Anne Waseke Kaloki

Can you imagine? Human bodies contain 5-10 times MORE bacteria than actual human cells!

TAKE CARE OF YOUR GUT

I have often been given the advice to trust that “gut feeling,” but it is only through my work that I came to realize it is just as important that we take care of our gut.

Current studies and research consistently show how important the gut is to our health and wellbeing – to the extent that it is referred to as our “second brain”. The gut – our digestive system – is the entirety from our mouth, through the tube leading to our stomach, the small and large intestine, down to the anus. It is home to trillions of healthy or “good’’, and infectious or “bad” bacteria, and a balance of those two keeps our digestion working properly and our health in check. The “good” bacteria are responsible for the health of the gut and play key role in digestion. They grow rapidly throughout the digestive system and, by doing so, stop too many “bad” bacteria from growing and making us unwell

Gut health can affect many different body functionalities, including our immunity and our emotional state.  Here are some of the things we now know about how our gut affects our physical and mental health:

1/

BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY!

Research indicates that 70%-80% of our immunity relies on gut health. If the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria is disrupted, our body’s ability to respond to infection is decreased. In this case, we may not mount as strong an immune response to fight off the infection as we otherwise would.

What can I do?

Boosting our immunity requires maintaining a balance of the “good” and “bad” bacteria. In large part, this is achieved by eating a healthy and varied diet that includes a lot of vegetables, legumes, beans, and fruit. This is particularly important if you have been on, or are taking, antibiotics, as they work to remove ALL bacteria – both “bad” and “good” – around your body, including your gut, and this can disturb your normal gut bacteria balance.

What should I eat?

Bananas, Asparagus, Whole grains, Garlic, Legumes (beans, peas, soybeans, chickpeas, lentils etc.), Mushrooms, Onions and Greens.

2/

HOW IS THAT MOOD?

Having an off day for no obvious reason? A lot of things can make us feel in a bad mood – including our gut! One of the reasons why scientists refer to our gut as our “second brain” is because the gut is responsible for over 90% of our production of the “feel good” hormone Serotonin.

What can I do?

Simple ways to work on maintaining your mood through a healthy gut is to support the production of Serotonin. We can do this by eating specific foods are high in Tryptophan, which is critical to produce serotonin in our bodies. The good news is that while serotonin cannot be obtained from our diet, trypotphan can!

What should I eat?

Foods such as eggs, nuts, seeds, and salmon Note: Engaging in healthy, happy habits like getting enough sleep and regular exercise is also important to promote the production of serotonin.

3/

THE SKIN WE ARE IN

Our skin and gut are interlinked – both contain many of the same tiny, living microorganisms including “good” and “bad” bacteria. Hence gut bacteria imbalance can lead to skin irritation and contribute to common skin problems like acne, eczema, and dermatitis.

What can I do?

Ensure that you eat well, avoid sugary drinks and highly processed foods..

What should I eat?

Foods that are rich in dietary fiber like beans and pulses, grains, vegetables, avocado, apple, banana, nuts, and seeds.

4/

BURSTING WITH ENERGY

For the body to function properly, we need to “fuel” up and – of course – the gut is a key player! When the gut is in balance it is better able to break down food and turn it into energy, a process known as metabolism. Do you know that feeling of sluggishness after a meal? That is often a sign that our gut is having a tough time digesting that food.

What can I do?

Simple ways to keep our metabolism working well include:

  • Eating at regular times
  • Eating enough calories
  • Staying well hydrated
  • Staying active (strength training is great!) Getting plenty of sleep and rest.

What should I eat/do?

It is important to be energetic throughout the day and the only way is to ensure you have a balanced diet which comprises of all food groups (carbohydrates/starch, proteins, vitamins/minerals, fats/oils, and water).

You can also add these practices as recommended by NHS for optimum energy levels:

  • Eat variety of fruit and vegetables every day
  • Starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other) -choose wholegrain versions where possible.
  • Include dairy, or dairy alternatives such as soya drinks – choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options.
  • Some protein will do you good (some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat).
  • Use healthy fats and avoid hydrogenated oils and fats.
  • Stay hydrated – drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.

A balanced gut means a healthy life, and the gut can contribute to many health issues if not well looked after. A few simple steps and a few tweaks to our meals can go a long way in keeping our gut healthy and maintaining our health and wellbeing!

WANT TO KNOW MORE?

At HealthX Africa, we have a primary health care team of Medical Doctors, Clinical Psychologists, and Nutritionists who cater for your physical, mental, and social well-being. We offer you unlimited and affordable access to our team, who will walk you through your health needs at all stages of your life and develop an action health plan specific to you. We believe you should have the power to make the best health and wellness decisions for yourself and your family, not driven by cost or fear, but by what you need. If you have any questions or need any more information about gut health, diet and wellness, or any health care issues, contact us anytime on our toll-free number 0800 720 795. We are just a phone call away from ensuring that you and your family live a long, happy, healthy life.

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