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Simple Habits To Support Your Gut Health

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The digestive tract is a complex, diverse system that holds the capacity to drastically influence our daily health and wellbeing. Taking care of your gut health simply means supporting the trillions of bacterial cells that occupy it. You want to make sure the tenants are going to look after the place, rather than trash the living hell out of it. You want to ensure the ratio of good to bad bacteria is falling toward a positive balance. Some factors that can throw off this delicate scale include water contamination, environmental conditions, gastrointestinal distress, nutritional deficiencies, stress and specific medications.

Improving and actively taking care of your gut bacteria can offer an extremely diverse range of health benefits to leave you feeling energised and ready to take on the world. Not only can good gut bacteria provide you with an overall sense of wellbeing, but it can also help with your immunity, influence biochemical reactions, enhance digestion and absorption of nutrients, protect the lining of the gut, fight off harmful bacteria and even influence your mental health.

So how can we make sure our gut flora remains in this positive balance so we can reap these health rewards? Here are a few simple habits to adopt in your day-to-day routine to support your gut bacteria and digestive health. These recommendations are for average individuals with no additional requirements or health conditions. Those with any specific needs should speak to a dietitian before making any adjustments to their diet.

Diversify Your Diet

Pack your diet with an abundance of healthy foods to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients that your gut needs to thrive. This includes fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, eggs, etc. This can reduce your intake of nutrient-poor foods and leave you feeling fuller for longer, overall helping with weight management, which can be a major cause of poor gut health.

Get Active

Another simple tip that can simultaneously improve your quality of life while avoiding constipation; regular fitness can help keep everything ‘on track’ in your digestive system. Also, as previously mentioned, weight management can help support and nourish gut health.

Up Your Fibre Intake

An integral part of any diet, fibre helps to make stools bulkier while also assisting with movement throughout the colon. Ultimately, this can help avoid constipation.
As well as treating various digestive conditions, fibre can also help with weight management. Good sources of fibre include fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds and many breakfast cereals.

Avoid Foods High In Bad Fats

And yet another contributor to constipation; a diet full of bad fats can be a major factor towards a sluggish and poor digestive system. Although unsaturated fats are crucial when it comes to a healthy lifestyle, pairing this intake with fibre can assist the digestive system with breaking down and passing the food. As poor quality sources of protein also have high amounts of saturated and trans fats, try to consume leaner proteins such as chicken, fish, beans, lentils, and eggs.

Try Introducing Small Amounts Of Resistance Starch

As it’s important to feed our good bacteria to ensure its abundance, incorporating small amounts of resistance starch into our diet can prove to be useful. Although resistance starch cannot be digested by the body, this form of fibre can promote gut health by providing energy and supporting the health of cells in the small and large intestine. Foods high in resistance starch include bananas, lentils, beans, whole grain products and potatoes. It’s recommended to include 20g of resistance starch in your diet per day.

Take Advantage Of Probiotic Foods

Eating foods with good bacteria can be very effective when it comes to improving the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut. Probiotics can help keep your gut at an optimal health by combatting the consequences of a poor diet and stress, and can also boost your immune system and assist with IBS symptoms. Some probiotic-containing foods to incorporate into your daily diet include yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, and sauerkraut. Probiotic supplements of various strengths are also available at pharmacies.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is a crucial yet simple element when it comes to gut health. Fibre draws water into the colon to create softer stools. This helps the stools to pass with ease. Although there are many different opinions when it comes to how much water you should be drinking per day, try to aim for around eight glasses.

Reduce Your Intake Of Gut Harming Substances

Where necessary, it’s important you reduce your intake of gut-harming substances. This can avoid the bacteria balance from shifting out of your favour, leaving you with all the wellbeing rewards that you’ve earnt. Some substances to limit include antibiotics (unless otherwise stated by a doctor), processed foods, chlorinated water, and pesticides.

Experiencing Serious Gastro-Uncomfort? Maybe The FODMAP Diet Is Your Solution

FODMAP is an abbreviation for a bunch of molecules (with really long names) that are found in the food we eat. As some individuals find it specifically hard to absorb these molecules in the small intestine, FODMAPs can make their way into the large intestine where they can wreak havoc and cause a variety of symptoms that are associated with IBS.

A low FODMAP diet is essentially limiting the intake of FODMAPs through two phases. Phase one involves eliminating all high FODMAP foods from the diet for over four weeks while phase two involves gradually reintroducing these foods to establish the degree of which individuals can tolerate FODMAPs. From here, a long-term diet can be established.

Interested in giving the Low FODMAP diet a go? Speak to your dietitian for more information before commencing as the diet often has different effects between individuals.

The Amino Acid Profile Of Whey Protein

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A well-known reputation of whey protein is that it has a very good amino acid profile. Now, although this sounds quite impressive, what exactly does it mean? Amino acids are an essential aspect of our life, although they can often fly under the radar and go unappreciated. For everything they do for us, don’t you think these molecules deserve just a little bit of love and appreciation? Plus with all the health benefits whey offers, diving into the role amino acids play in this particular protein can be rather fascinating.

Here is a quick, simple guide for understanding the amino acids of whey protein and the health benefits they can offer.

A Brief Guide To Amino Acids

Amino acids are simply the building blocks of protein. When you consume protein, your body breaks it down into specific amino acids which are to be used for various functions. These molecules are responsible for cell structure, protein formation, nutrient transport, tissue repair, healing, genetic transcription and countless other crucial roles. Therefore, it’s important we are providing an adequate, diverse and quality supply to ourselves to ensure all of these tasks can be covered.

The body is able to create eleven out of the twenty amino acids that we require to operate properly. As for the remaining nine, we have to get them through our diet. Although some foods contain an abundance of amino acids, others simply don’t. Therefore, consuming a diverse diet consisting of foods such as lean meats, eggs, poultry, soybeans and various plant foods can compensate and help you achieve your necessary intake of amino acids. However, there are an array of high-quality foods that offer consumers a high concentration of these nine essential amino acids, otherwise referred to as ‘complete proteins’. This is where whey protein enters the picture.

Why Are The Amino Acids In Whey Protein Significant?

When it comes to the different types of protein, whey is significant because it provides us with all nine of the essential amino acids that we require. This makes whey a very useful and simple protein supplement for athletes undergoing active strength training, vegans looking for an easy protein fix or bed-ridden elderly hoping to slow their muscle breakdown. Whey protein is also an excellent source of branched chain amino acids – a form of amino acids that are known to slow muscle wasting, increase protein synthesis and support muscle growth and repair.

How Can These Amino Acids Benefit Your Health?

An adequate supply of your essential amino acids can offer a handful of wellbeing related benefits. Actively incorporating all your amino acids through the diet can prevent muscle loss, improve general mood and sleeping patterns, improve physical performance, and enhance weight loss.

On the other hand, what happens if you don’t get enough of these essential amino acids? As your body will not store any excess amino acids that you don’t require, if you aren’t supplying an essential amino acid through your diet, muscle breakdown will occur. This is typically the first sign of an amino acid deficiency. The body has to get this amino acid from somewhere, so it will be taken from the muscle so it can be used wherever else it’s required. Various other symptoms include poor mental health, general weakness and fatigue, texture changes in skin and hair, and a weaker immune response.

By seeing just how many roles they adopt throughout our body, it’s clear how important amino acids are for our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Although to reap the rewards of these vital molecules, we need to be consuming a diverse diet to ensure we are consuming all of our essential amino acids. In return, we can avoid various health complications and achieve an improved physical performance and quality of life.