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Health and Fitness Editor, Lucy Gornall, discusses her tips and tricks to maintain a healthy gut.

  • 84% of Brits do not consider their immune system to be a strong defender of illness
  • Only 19% of Brits are very aware of the term ‘gut health’
  • 1 in 5 Brits suffer often with constipation, indigestion (22%) and diarrhoea (18%)

It’s uncomfortable… it’s embarrassing… it’s a little awkward… and that’s just the conversation. Gut health, and speaking about it, can be both mortifying and interesting, and it’s ok to embrace both!

What we know about our health, whether that be what causes a migraine, or what gives us cramp, is different for every single person. 

We’re all unique. We all have ups and downs, good and bad days (or thoughts, or feelings) but there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help us feel a little more stable… and at the very least, stable in our gut!

I recently discovered some new research from (my favourite) yoghurt brand, The Collective, who found that a huge 84% of us do not rate our immune system as being a strong defender or preventer of illness. In fact, 1 in 5 Brits suffer with constipation, indigestion (22%) and even diarrhoea (18%) more often than we’d like. 

It’s shocking to me that so many of us are suffering in this way, and that stomach issues like these are becoming ‘normal’ and almost expected… There are countless aspects of life that we should be normalising, but an uncomfortable and sometimes painful gut, is not one of them!

The following thoughts are personal to me, BUT, what works for one can work for the many, so if you’re struggling with your gut health, don’t struggle alone. If you’re becoming used to being bloated, feeling sluggish, tired, and constantly uncomfortable then maybe I can help. 

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Limit Grazing. 
When I snack a lot or just KEEP dipping my hand into the granola bag, I feel like my gut never gets a chance to rest and digest! So, I try to just eat my three meals, leave a nice lengthy gap between, and only snack if I’m hungry!

Always a winner – things just get moving! However, if I over exercise or go that bit too hard, then my stomach will bloat. So, it’s a fine line. Also, to note, when I swim or run I need to have waited at least 2 hours since I last ate. 

Probiotics and fermented foods. 
The Collective kefir range, along with sauerkraut and probiotics have done wonders for me. They help settle my tummy, support my immune system, and although some fermented foods can raise eyebrows when your friends take a peek in your fridge, they really are a game changer. If you’re not used to them though, go easy at first! Or the side effects will be a little… gassy!

Find the trigger foods
Some foods Just don’t agree with my tummy. Fried foods are the devil for me, as is cheese (however, some are ok). I’ve honestly spent years making notes and tracking how I feel after foods… but it’s worth noting that…

Stress plays a part. 
I could eat ice cream when I’m stressed or trying to hit deadlines, and it will ruin my gut. Or I can eat it calmly in front of a film, and it won’t wreak such havoc. As soon as I’m stressed (this could be from an argument with someone, or missing a train or anything that makes me a bit on edge), I try to avoid eating as my tummy just isn’t in that ‘digest’ mode and instead, will simply bloat out! Stress really affects our immune systems, and it’s more important now (than ever before!) to keep ourselves healthy from the inside out.

For digestion! Ok, so when bloating or wind does build up, I go on YouTube, search for ‘digestive yoga’ and spend 5 minutes just… having a release. No shame here – we’ve all been in those uncomfortable situations! 

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Only 19% of us Brits are completely aware of the term ‘gut health’. To me, that’s shocking. What’s more, 59% of us don’t think that maintaining a healthy gut is very important at all. Come on, Britain!

I know how difficult and emotional confronting your gut can be. Our gut is where our true feelings lie – hence the term ‘gut feeling’ – so sometimes we don’t really want to stand up to that challenge. But please know that small changes, and they really can be as tiny as a swig of kefir, can have such a positive lasting effect.”

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