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Boost Your Gut Health Naturally

Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality health cover, discusses the importance of gut health, common factors that can affect it, and ways to boost your gut health naturally.

“The gut, often called the second brain, is a remarkable organ system that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.

“Not only is it responsible for digesting and absorbing nutrients from the foods we eat, but it also houses a complex network of neurons, neurotransmitters, and immune cells that communicate with the brain and influence various bodily functions.”

Understanding Gut Microbiome

The gut microbiome is like a bustling city in your digestive system, filled with billions of tiny organisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Together, they keep your gut running smoothly by helping break down complex carbohydrates, fibre, and other nutrients, helping to extract essential vitamins and minerals from food.

 

The gut microbiome also supports the immune system. A healthy microbiome is a barrier, preventing harmful pathogens from invading the body and triggering immune responses. In addition to digestion and immunity, the gut microbiome may impact mental health and mood regulation.

Nutrition for Gut Health

Eating right is vital to keeping your gut happy and healthy. That means filling your plate with a colourful variety of whole foods packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Think plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and legumes. Incorporating fermented foods like yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi can provide beneficial nutrients and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Reduce Your Intake of Artificial Sweeteners

Regarding sugar substitutes, choosing wisely for your gut health is essential. While zero-calorie sweeteners may seem like a better option than sugar, they can throw off the balance of bacteria in your gut. This imbalance has been linked to inflammation and metabolic issues. To keep your gut happy, use natural sweeteners like honey or stevia in moderation. These alternatives are easier on your stomach and can still satisfy your sweet tooth. And when you’re shopping, try to steer clear of foods and drinks with artificial sweeteners like aspartamesucralose, and saccharin.

Probiotics

Probiotic supplements contain live beneficial bacteria and sometimes yeast strains intended to support gut health. They come in various formats, including capsules, tablets, powders, or liquids, and are filled with friendly bacteria strains, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. These bacteria help keep your digestion in check and boost your immune system. You might consider probiotic supplements if you’ve recently taken antibiotics or want to improve your gut health.

Stress Management

When stressed, your brain sends signals that can upset the balance of good bacteria in your gut. This can lead to tummy troubles like bloating, cramps, or diarrhoea. Plus, stress can weaken your immune system, making you more prone to getting sick. To keep your gut happy, try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi or walking in nature.

Sleep Hygiene

Getting a good night’s sleep isn’t just about feeling refreshed – it’s also crucial for keeping your gut happy. When you don’t sleep well, it can mess with the balance of bacteria in your gut and cause digestive issues. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted shut-eye each night to give your gut the rest it needs to function at its best.

 

Exercise Regularly

Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, cycling, or swimming help stimulate bowel movements and improve digestion by increasing blood flow to the intestines. Resistance training, such as weightlifting or bodyweight activities, can help decrease inflammation and stimulate the development of healthy gut flora.

 

Hydration

Drinking adequate water throughout the day helps support digestion, nutrient absorption, and bowel regularity. Drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and include hydrating foods like cucumbers, watermelon, and citrus fruits in your diet to increase your water consumption naturally. 

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading health coverage provider, offering you a range of options at affordable rates, including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, budget, and lifestyle. Our healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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