Back to Practitioner Blogs

5 steps to a healthy, happy gut

5 steps to a healthy, happy gut

by Mrs Kathryn Beacroft 17/12/2018

As a Naturopath I regularly see people with digestive issues which are causing many varied symptoms and affecting their health. Gut health can affect you in so many ways – it can

  • Affect your immune system
  • Affect your mood
  • Create inflammation in your body causing body aches and pains
  • Affect your ability to lose weight
  • Reduce your absorption of vital nutrients

If your gut health isn’t right it is hard to feel RIGHT! About 80% of your feel good hormone ie serotonin is made in your digestive system so if your system isn’t happy – its hard to feel as happy as you should because you will not be making as much serotonin as someone else with a happy digestive system. I have outlined my 5 basic steps to start you on the road to recovery. If however you need more help we have designed several programs which may help you – they are outlined at the end of this guide.   STEP 1 – Eat the Best quality food you can afford

If you are eating food that is full of chemicals and additives your vitality will be reduced and your liver will have to process these toxins. When planning your meals

  • Avoid frozen, canned, and chemically treated foods.
  • Eat at least 5 servings of fresh vegetables every day
  • Eat 1-2 pieces of fruit per day
  • Eat good quality protein sources – such as Eggs, nuts and seeds, fish, chicken and beef (preferably chicken and beef that is grass fed, organic or free range)

STEP 2 – Drink plenty of water:

This is so ESSENTIAL – if you don’t drink enough water your body can’t release toxins effectively. We need a minimum of 2 litres of water every day and more if you are exercising. It's been estimated that over two-thirds of all people don't drink enough water and suffer from some degree of dehydration. A good analogy to understand how important water is to your body is to think about washing your car with a bucket of water with only 5 cms of water in the bucket as opposed to a full bucket of water. Your car is going to look a lot cleaner if you wash it with a full bucket of water – isn’t it! Our bodies are no different they need water every day to wash out toxins.

If you’re dehydrated the negative effects on your body include

  • Accumulation of toxins which will make you feel sluggish
  • Constipation
  • Low energy

STEP 3 – Reduce your Stress levels:

Stress causes lot of negative effects for your health including specifically making your body more acidic which will increase inflammation in your body and reduce your energy. Stress will also slow down your digestion and can lead to constipation. Try introducing a daily practice of meditation or yoga. Also sometimes some calming herbs can also really help.

STEP 4 – Take a good quality multivitamin and mineral supplement:

If your body is already nutritionally deficient due to the reduced absorption of nutrients and your intestinal walls are damaged, you need to increase your intake of certain nutrients to repair the damage and to energise your system.
Nutrients that you may be deficient in if you have poor digestion are: Zinc: is the most important trace mineral. Needed by more than 200 enzyme reactions in the body. B12 – Deficiency can cause – chronic fatigue, constipation, depression, dizziness, irritability, moodiness etc. Magnesium: deficiency causes irritability, nervousness, insomnia, fatigue. Muscle cramps etc. Selenium: It protects the immune system by preventing the formation of free radicals. B Vitamins: are needed for healthy nervous system, your skin, liver, red blood cell formation etc, B3 – Niacin: helps to calm the nervous system and is needed for the body to produce Hydrochloric acid which our stomachs need to help break down our food. There are numerous other Minerals which our body’s need in small amounts including Manganese, Chromium, Iodine.

STEP 5 – Increase the good bacteria in your gut

Often when you have poor digestion the balance of good and bad flora in your gut may be out of balance so eating fermented foods or taking a probiotic can sometimes really help. Eating fermented foods such as kefir, kombuchu, sauerkraut, kimchi can be effective as they contain naturally occurring beneficial bacteria. A good quality multi strain probiotic is also often helpful. Probiotic – is derived from the greek words meaning ‘for life”.

©Copyright 2018 Kathryn Beacroft All rights reserved - Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist