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Foods for a healthier gut

Your gut is often referred to as a ‘second brain’ because of the significant effect it has on the whole body – from immunity and weight loss to a happier mind.

Scientists call this your ‘enteric nervous system’, comprising of about 100 million nerve cells in the lining of your gastrointestinal tract, which communicate regularly with your brain. Research shows that 70–80 per cent of our immune tissue resides in the digestive system and around 90 per cent of serotonin comes from the gut, which needs a balance of good and bacteria to stay healthy. If something is amiss in your tummy, it can affect your physical and mental wellbeing. Here are some signs that you need to heal your gut:

  • digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhoea and gas
  • anxiety, depression or mood swings
  • skin problems and sensitivities
  • food intolerances and allergies
  • brain fog
  • frequent infections
  • hormone imbalances
  • chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue
  • autoimmune disorders.


So, what can you eat to improve your insides?

Anti-inflammatory foods
Before you start adding new foods to your diet, it’s important to cut out the bad ones – essentially, anything that will flare up your gut. Try removing irritants from your diet such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, gluten, eggs and corn, and replacing them with anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, wholegrains, dark leafy greens, nuts, ginger, turmeric, capsicum, tomatoes, berries, garlic and onions.

Serving as food for good bacteria, prebiotics help your gut’s health thrive. Get your daily dose in garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, artichokes and bananas.

These are the good bacteria that help your gut absorb nutrients and support your immune system. To maintain a healthy balance, you need to consume anywhere between 25 to 100 billion units per day of beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria or lactobacillus. Great natural sources of probiotics include live-cultured yoghurt, kefir, miso soup, kombucha and fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi. You can also take a probiotic supplement to help boost your levels.

High-fibre foods are essential to healthy digestion. Try avocado, berries, coconut, figs, peas, artichokes, pumpkin, legumes, nuts and wholegrains.

Have you suffered from an unhealthy gut? Which foods and methods helped you heal?

Related articles:
Five ways to improve gut health
What does a rumbling tummy mean?
Seven secrets of people who never get sick

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