For the last year or so, everyone has been talking about the importance and benefits of gut health. And the more I read, the more I am stunned about how nobody talked about this enough before. Yes, it is a trending topic, but this is the most basic common sense when it comes to your body’s wellbeing.
Here’s why it is so important – we have over 40 trillion bacteria in our bodies, mostly good. Our intestines or guts are a breeding ground for these living microorganisms, that help in digestion, cleanse your body of impurities, and directly affect your physical and mental health.
Following the norm, I tried a few easy ways to improve my ‘gut microbiome’ or simply ‘gut health’, and here’s what I learnt.
Adding Pro And Prebiotics In My Diet
Step 1: Yogurt
I’m a Bengali and I love yogurt. To easily slip it into my diet, I started setting ‘mishti doi’ or sweetened yogurt at home. Instead of sugar, I used date-palm jaggery. I eat a small bowl of mishti doi everyday after my lunch as a cool dessert.
Step 2: Sourdough bread
It’s an easy switch from regular wholewheat bread to sourdough. It tastes better, it’s not too expensive and it makes your breakfast a whole lot fancier. I usually end up toasting sourdough slices and munching on it with some pesto sauce or just butter.
Step 3: Pickles
I love salads. I come from a family where meals are incomplete without a few freshly sliced veggies on the plate. So, I just added gherkins and pickles to my usual carrots and tomatoes. Best part: they’re super yummy and add a kick to any meal.
Reducing Highly Processed Foods And Sugar
Step 1: Cut down on sugar
This one was hard. I really like desserts, so instead of completely eradicating sweets I switched processed sugar to natural sweeteners. I started using date-palm jaggery in desserts. I increased my fruit intake to balance my cravings and simply reduced to once-a-week cheat days where I munch on chocolates.
Step 2: Cut down processed food
Processed foods include foods like breakfast cereals, cheese, tinned or frozen food, and my long-time unhealthy friend – chips. Honestly, with more fruits and yogurt in my diet, I didn’t miss chips, biscuits or other snacks much.
Living a Healthier Lifestyle
Step 1: Workout!
One of the most beneficial forms of exercising when it comes to maintaining good gut health is Yoga. I like Yoga and I started adding more to my usual routine with basic breathing exercises, stretches and poses that help my digestive system.
Step 2: Hydrate with ACV
Apple Cider Vinegar helps aid in digestion, especially for people with low stomach acidity. It basically means, you won’t get bloated or gassy. Adding to my usual 2 litres of water throughout the day, I started drinking a glass of water with 1 tablespoon of ACV in it twice a day. Psst… it makes your skin clearer too!
Not only were these easy changes to my diet, but they weren’t expensive either. I got used to each of the probiotic foods quickly, didn’t miss the things I started to avoid, and would probably continue these habits for as long as I can. I might have to switch to other forms of these changes during winter, as pickles and yogurt could hurt my throat.
Health-wise, I’ve actually felt the difference within the first 2 weeks itself. I’ve been following this lifestyle for about a month and a half now. I feel lighter, my skin is much better, I’ve not lost a lot of weight but I look and feel more toned than before. I am more active throughout the day and my stamina is much better than when I started. I can workout more as well.