This month, Keto Hana is talking all things gut health. We’ve teamed up with gut health expert, and friend of Keto Hana, Navneeta aka @lets_eat_better_together, to get some useful tips on how to maintain a healthy gut. But first, why is gut health so important? A shocking 95% of our body’s serotonin is located in the gut. Serotonin is the feel-good, mood-boosting chemical - something we could all do with a bit more of after this last year This means what we eat not only affects our physical health but greatly impacts our mood and mental health too. So here are three simple things you can do to maintain a healthy, happy gut:
Be Mindful of Your Diet
Your diet plays a huge role in your gut health. For healthy gut bacteria, you need to eat plenty of prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotic foods, such as berries and onions, act as a source of food for the good bacteria in your gut which aid digestion and fight off infection and inflammation. Whilst probiotic foods, e.g.fermented foods like kimchi and kefir, already have live bacteria in them, which provide some fantastic health benefits, such as boosting ones immune system and anti-inflammatory response. Make sure to eat a balance of both prebiotics and probiotics to ensure a good balance of healthy bacteria that will keep your gut flora flourishing.
If you are following a keto diet, be careful as a lot of fermented food, such as kombucha, will contain hidden sugars that can kick your body out of ketosis. Below is a list of gut-healthy and keto-friendly foods:
- Leafy Greens
The link between exercise and our gut health is well documented, with plenty of research suggesting that regular exercise can improve the composition of your gut microbiome. After just 6 weeks of exercise, studies have shown a huge improvement in the gut flora that help produce short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are incredible at warding off health risks such as inflammatory diseases, heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Keeping active also reduces one’s stress levels and stimulates the gut, both of which will have a positive effect on the health of our gut and our digestion.
Bad sleep is a one-way ticket to an unhappy gut. Sleep deprivation reduces the levels of leptin (the hormone that inhibits hunger), increases the levels of ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates appetite) and also increases the production of cortisol, our stress hormone. A combination of these can not only result in late-night sugar cravings but can cause an imbalance of the gut microbiome which can lead to a host of issues, such as bloating, food sensitivities, inflammation, and bloating. For a healthy gut, try to get in the habit of a regular sleep pattern of at least 7 hours a night. That means no late-night scrolling or Netflix sessions.
For more information on gut health, head over to our Instagram for our IG takeover with @lets_eat_better_together, where Navneeta will share more of her daily tips and recipes for a healthy gut.