How to Maintain Good Gut Health in Winter

{ Australian Dietitian and Health and Wellness Ambassador for SunRice, The Nude Nutritionist has quit diets and is here to give us the naked truth on health.  }

Maintaining great gut health and how it affects our immunity are tricky topics. Lyndi gives us the down low on how to encourage good gut health and why it's important.

Words by: Lyndi Cohen

There is some seriously exciting research being done to show just how much your gut health can influence your body’s ability to resist infection. It has been discovered that healthy gut bacteria actually helps us to build and maintain a healthy immune system. Winter can be a particular tricky time for your immune system as it is cold and flu season, various medications are being taken and people huddle up together to stay warm. Starting with a healthy gut will help strengthen your immune system so hopefully you can avoid illness this winter season. In order to stay well, let’s check out the facts and learn how we can maintain a healthy gut and strong immune system.

Your gut is quite a complex system made up of many organs functioning simultaneously. Everything we eat and drink enters through the gastrointestinal tract, which is lined with mucous where millions of critical bacteria live. We need ample good bacteria to help us maintain a strong immune system and prevent disease by preventing the growth of bad bacteria. How do we create a happy healthy gut, thriving with good bacteria, you ask? Let’s check out a few simple ways to boost your gut health today.

Foods to eat less often

  • Fatty foods and processed foods with high amounts of fructose are linked with poor gut health.
  • Try to reduce the amount of cakes, biscuits, processed meats, confectionary and cook more food at home.
  • Drinking too much alcohol may also be linked with poor gut health so try to keep your drinking below moderate.

Foods to eat most often

  • The good news is that eating certain foods, particularly plant-based foods, is linked with good gut health.
  • The best foods to be including in your meal plans are nutrient rich, plant-based, high fibre and low GI carbohydrates. (Examples to follow below!)
  • Foods with low GI take longer to be digested, releasing glucose into the bloodstream at a slower and more sustainable rate, helping provide you with a slow release of energy.
  • When it comes to a healthy diet, gut health and a strong immune system, variety is so important. Plenty of variety is also essential for getting a mix of nutrients in your diet.
  • New research shows that including 30+ different type of plant-based foods into your diet boosts gut health.
  • Grain based food with plenty of fibre or seeds and nuts can act as a prebiotic in your gut, providing the good bacteria with food to fuel them and keep them healthy.
  • I recommend low GI rice, quinoa, millet, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, linseeds, chickpeas, lentils, black beans and oats.
  • Try to keep the skin on all your fruit and vegetables for adding fibre and nutrients.
  • For a healthy option, I love SunRice Low GI Rice. Low GI options can help give you sustained energy and are a better choice for your gut health.
  • SunRice Low GI rice comes in both white and brown rice varieties, so you can choose which option works best with the recipe you are cooking.

What about probiotics and prebiotics? Do you need a supplement in winter?

  • It’s important to have probiotics for good gut health, but prebiotics are also really important. Think of probiotics like plants in a garden, while prebiotics are the mulch and soil the plants need to survive.
  • While probiotic supplements can be helpful for those who need an extra boost, plain Greek yoghurt is often the best source of dietary probiotics.
  • Instead of taking a supplement, I’d recommend having plain Greek yoghurt as a snack, with a few seeds and nuts and fruit or a light drizzle of honey as a snack or breakfast. It’s a fantastic food based way to get probiotics, prebiotics and calcium in one yummy meal.
  • Being treated with antibiotics can negatively affect your gut microbiota so boost those pro and prebiotic foods if you’re put on antibiotics.

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Categories: HEALTH.