10 Gut Health Hacks to support a Happy and Healthier You!
At Ossa, we believe in the healing properties of natural food and that food can be a powerful medicine to help restore and rejuvenate the mind and body.
In fact research has shown that up to 90% of Serotonin is made in the gut (1) and 70% of our Immune System is found in the GI tract (2)! Making Gut Health of paramount importance to not just our mood but also our overall wellbeing.
Here is a list of 10 gut health hacks to help you get a healthier gut by improving the composition of your gut bacteria and to support your wellness journey.
1. Bone broth
Bone broth has gained a great deal of attention in the mainstream media and across major food, health and beauty publications, including Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop Lab. But why you ask? The secret is collagen protein.
This essential protein compound is naturally occurring in Bone Broth, from the gelatine content of slow cooking bones and leaching these vital nutrients into liquid gold.
Collagen acts as a 'glue' for our connective tissue and is beneficial for cellular repair. It is an ingestible beauty supplement that can promote stronger nails, thicker hair and increase elasticity of the skin. It can help ease joint discomfort and aid mobility recovery. For gut and digestive health, collagen can help us absorb nutrients more effectively and reduce inflammation. It is a powerhouse natural supplement to promote gut health and overall wellbeing.
Similarly gelatine is a powerhouse protein molecule derived from collagen. It can help support and strengthen connective tissue and increase strength and durability of joints and bones. Ancestrally, gelatine has always been a prominent part of our diet as it is rich in amino acids like proline and glycine that help seal the digestive tract and promote gut health.
2. Fermented foods
Fermented foods are gaining popularity with kefir, apple cider vinegar and kombucha tonics now the go to wellness drinks. The lactic acid produced during digestion of fermented foods, boosts the development of healthy bacteria in the intestine. The presence of such healthy bacteria then makes it possible to absorb all the nutrients in the foods which you consume. If you're not into tonics why not try kimchi? A delicious Korean side dish with the perfect spice and tang for your favourite asian-inspired dishes.
Fibres promote healthy digestion. They help clean out the little bits and pieces that get stuck in your intestine. Fibres are not only present in grains; there are loads of them in vegetables too. Fruit, Vegetables and legumes are a great way to consume fibre without the inflammatory effects that some grains can cause and or for those who follow a Paleo diet, they also contain essential vitamins and minerals which also support a healthy gut.
4. Buy local, fresh food:
They say you are what you eat, we believe this also extends to what your food eats. Whether this is grass fed beef or organic fruit and vegetables, it is always important to look at the full picture and the source of your food. Our gut bacteria is related to our soil bacteria. Large-scale commercial agriculture is producing more toxins than in the past because they have changed soil organisms for good. That’s why it is important to buy fresh, local and organic food including prebiotic rich vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots, asparagus, and squash contain fibrous prebiotic carbs that support good bacteria growth.
5. Skip conventional dairy:
Most dairy products contain the protein A1 casein that is bad for your gut. Additionally, commercial pasteurisation eradicates essential enzymes, making lactose difficult to digest. We recommend trying raw cream, unpasteurised milk and for cooking, The Ghee is casein and lactose free with all the creamy, buttery flavour.
6. Support the good guys with supplements:
You can supplement your diet by taking prebiotics, digestive enzymes or L-Glutamine, including collagen or gelatine powders with neutral flavours and soluble in heat making them perfect for cooking.
7. Keep the bad stuff out:
As well as putting the good stuff in and supplementing it, it is important to keep the bad stuff out.
It is crucial to try to keep the following culprits or limit them where you can:
- Processed food
- Refined sugar
8. Manage stress:
Apart from diet, stress management is one of the most effective ways to heal your gut. Some studies show that stress affects the brain-gut axis. Stress can lead to decreased nutritional absorption, enzyme production, oxygenation and blood flow to the GI tract. A lot of this is easier said than done but an important thing to remember, is you can do anything but you can't do everything. Take some time for mindfulness and to reconnect, set a part some time for YOU, whether it is journalling, drawing or reading a book.
9. Move you body:
As most of us live quite sedentary lifestyles it is important that we don'[t get caught up in our cyber realities and ground ourselves if not with nature than to our bodies. While exercise as a word can sound tedious and a chore think of it more as movement, and moving in a way that feels good to you. Whether it be yoga, HIIT, dancing or taekwondo.
10. Prioritise sleep:
It is crucial to get eight to nine hours of sleep every night to allow your body to repair itself. A study from the National Institute of Health shows that your immune system relies on sleep to stay healthy. Chronic sleep deprivation can change the way your immune system responds. For example, if you’re sleep-deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections. Also, sleep is important because it helps maintain a healthy balance of the hormones that make you feel hungry or full.
Lastly, the study showed that sleep affects your blood glucose levels. Sleep deficiency leads to a higher than average blood sugar level, which may increase your risk for diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. Try reducing your screen time closer to bed or trying red light blockers. Sometimes it also helps to set up a routine that helps you habituate sleep as your mind and body remembers this ritual and prepares itself for rest.