Let’s hear it for the gut! Amy O’Flaherty shares her top tips for a healthier, happier gut.
The microbiome in the human gut contains around 100 trillion microorganisms – In a 200 pound adult, that’s about 2-6 pounds of bacteria- outnumbering human cells by 10-1, which technically means we’re more bacteria than human!
Any disturbance of the microbiome may have a ripple effect throughout the body, leading to a variety of diseases and disorders including IBS, IBD, leaky gut, migraine, fatigue, depression and low mood. Scientists have also linked gut health to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's diseases. Therefore, a healthy gut is essential for human health and we’re sharing with you 5 ways to help you enrich your gut microbiome:
High Fibre Diet
Our modern lifestyle has resulted in us ordering out and eating lots of processed foods. We’re too busy to shop for foods and cook healthy, nutritious meals and this is affecting our gut health in a big way. Our gut loves dietary fibre e.g. plant-based foods, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. These high fibre foods feed our necessary gut bacteria, which then positively impacts the rest of our body.
Moving and being active helps to alleviate any gut health issues by speeding up bodily functions, promoting regular bowel movements and therefore reducing bloating. This doesn’t mean you need to do a high intensity workout every day, it could be a brisk walk or a light yoga session. Whatever takes your fancy, exercising your muscles 3 to 4 times a week helps to exercise your organs too, which leads to your body operating efficiently.
According to Psychology Today, when our body is under stress, it releases messengers called ‘inflammatory cytokines’ that tell our immune system it’s under threat. In essence, our bodies react to stress as if it were an infection. As a result, inflammation increases, certain bodily functions shut down and the body goes into healing mode, including the gut. That’s where the saying ‘gut feeling’ comes from – when we’re stressed about something and it doesn’t feel right, our gut responds with that horrible nauseous feeling we’ve all experienced.
Limit Caffeine or Alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol are stimulants and can disrupt the processes in our body, especially our gut. Significant amounts of alcohol can affect your gut movements often causing diarrhoea in some people. If you have IBS, these gut movements could trigger gut pain and bloating too.
Explore Food Supplements
We’ve all heard of the importance of probiotics as a supplement to support a healthy gut, but we’ve exploring other natural plant alternatives that could help too. Our research pointed us to CBD. CBD is reported to modulate inflammation in the body. This means it could have benefits for those suffering with IBS, IBD, colitis, gas and bloating.
CBD is also great for digestive health because its cortisol lowering benefits help to prevent ‘leaky gut’. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone meaning it breaks down tissues in the body, and it has a hugely destructive effect on the one cell thick lining of our digestive system. Managing cortisol levels is one of the most important aspects of a well-functioning digestive system.
This short guide is just a snapshot of the ways you can care for your microbiome - a helpful way to kick-start your journey to a happy and healthy gut!
Amy O’Flaherty is the co-founder and brand director of ethos, an Irish CBD and wellness brand offering three ranges of CBD oils currently: Natural, Balance and Sleep. We’re loving their Balance oil as it has all the benefits of CBD with Ashwagandha extract (an adaptogenic herb that helps the body resist stressors of all kinds promoted by wellness advocates like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian) and Peppermint essential oil, which helps to support digestion.
ethos CBD products can be purchased from the brand’s website ethos-cbd.com and select Irish stores and pharmacies.