Experiencing long-lasting, positive changes to your digestive health is possible, and it’s not as complicated as you might think. In fact, the building blocks to better gut health can be achieved in a number of ways, from eating a diversity of plants, to moving more often and finding healthier ways to manage your stress. Improving your gut microbiome can deliver a wealth of benefits, from fewer abdominal discomforts to better energy levels, clearer skin, greater mental clarity and more restful sleep.
If you’re ready to boost your gut health for better overall wellbeing, we’ve covered a few key areas to focus on. You can then take the leap by signing up to our 7 Days to Better Gut Health program.
1. Plant diversity & fibre
Aiming to incorporate at least 30 different plants per week into your diet will not only benefit your digestive health and gut microbiome, but also your health more broadly. Additionally, consuming a diverse selection of plants will help you hit your daily fibre-intake goals. Fibre plays an important role in our digestive health by supporting our colon cells to keep them healthy. Fibre is also important for our digestive system and helps to keep the digestive tract flowing smoothly by ensuring bowel movements are smooth and regular.
A good rule of thumb is to organise your meals as:
- 1/2 plate of colour: Fruits and vegetables
- 1/4 plate of lean protein: Legumes, eggs, tofu, poultry, lean red meat and seafood
- 1/4 plate of nutritious carbohydrates: Brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oats, brown and seeded bread, freekeh, barley, potato and sweet potato
Diversity really is the key to good gut health. Research has found that people who consume more than 30 different types of plant foods per week have more diversity within their gut microbiome compared to people who eat less. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, legumes and extra virgin olive oil.
If this all seems overwhelming – and it’s true that 30 different plants is a lot to remember – you can start recording the plants you consume in our Plant Diversity Tracker, which will help you stay on top of your plant-diversity consumption.
30 minutes of physical activity every day should be the minimum you are aiming for, and you might be surprised by how much just a little bit of movement can go a long way to supporting better gut health. Movement exercises can include everything from walking, yoga, Pilates and weights, to a dance party with your kids in the living room – anything you enjoy! The key is consistency.
Regular movement helps prevent constipation, and research has also shown it can help to increase the production of butyrate, a fatty acid that decreases inflammation and increases repair within the digestive tract. Exercise has also been shown to boost the diversity of beneficial bacteria within the microbiome.
With consistency of movement comes natural enjoyment. After all, the post-exercise feels are instant and last the whole day! This is because exercise helps to increase the production of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoid – these are all the brain chemicals associated with feeling happy. And when you are happy about exercise, you are more likely to be happy to do it again tomorrow.
3. Stress management and mindfulness
Did you know that your mind plays a vital role in maintaining the balance of your gut microbiome? The brain and gut are in constant communication with one another, so when you are stressed it can negatively alter the composition of your gut microbiome due to increased cortisol and inflammation.
Exercise is one of the most common ways that people manage their stress levels, and the evidence shows it works wonders on our mental health. A large study found that people who exercised for 45 minutes three to five times a week saw the biggest benefits, with team sports, cycling, aerobics and going to the gym delivering the biggest reductions in poor mental health.
But if you’d prefer to keep your movements to the standard 30 minutes a day, there are plenty of other ways you can manage your stress and practise mindfulness, including:
- Diaphragmatic breathing
- Listening to music
- Chatting with a friend
- Making an appointment to speak with a mental health professional
Making a deliberate effort to manage your stress levels and mental wellbeing can ensure your digestive system stays healthy and keeps you feeling your best.
Ready to challenge yourself?
As part of the launch of our new P3 Gut Builder Postbiotic Tonic, accredited practising dietitian Chloe McLeod has developed the 7 Days to Better Gut Health program. For anyone looking to improve their gut health, it’s the perfect kick-starter to set you on a more positive path. Every day, Chloe sets you a series of goals, shares tips to help you succeed, shows you how to put her advice into action, and shares why it is so important to take care of your gut health.
It's not like other challenges that you simply forget about once you’ve finished. It’s a seven-day holistic program designed to change your attitude towards your own gut health, and give you the tools to be healthier, happier and more aware of what your body needs to thrive. With her comprehensive daily plans, Chloe will give you everything you need to build gut-healthy habits for life.
If you’re ready to change the way you treat your gut, you can sign up for Chloe’s 7 Days to Better Gut Health program here. Share you progress via socials for your chance to win 1 in 30 P3 Wellness prize packs.