Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Australian Bananas.

World Digestive Health Day – Boost your gut health naturally!

The more we learn about our gut, the more we understand that our gut health plays an extremely important role in maintaining our general health and wellbeing. From immune function, mood and energy levels to a risk of developing more serious gut issues including irritable bowel and even some types of cancer, keeping our gut healthy is just as important as exercising regularly and eating our greens when it comes to our long term health. So to celebrate World Digestive Health Day on May 29th, here are some easy ways to help boost your own gut health, each and every day.

1. Get the good bugs

Known as the ‘good bacteria’, probiotics are microorganisms naturally found in the human digestive tract that improve the balance of healthy bacteria. Probiotics have been shown to reduce digestive symptoms such as constipation and bloating; help restore gut flora after consuming a course of antibiotics – antibiotics can kill the good bacteria naturally found in the gut and rebalance the bacteria required for optimal nutrient absorption. It is thought that poor dietary patterns, along with the stress of modern lives, our gut bugs take a beating and as such making sure we are regularly getting a dose of various probiotics is a powerful step towards optimal gut health.

Probiotics can be found in various food sources, including fermented drinks and yoghurts. It’s been shown just 1-2 serves a day of these foods can reduce bloating in sensitive stomachs. For those individuals opposed to yoghurts or milk-based drinks, probiotics are also available in supplement form, which can be an effective way to get your daily dose of probiotics.

2. Feed the bugs right

While probiotics help to boost the good bacteria within the digestive system, prebiotics help to feed this good bacteria. Prebiotics found in various fibrous foods move through the digestive tract undigested, promoting their growth and optimising gut balance.  As a result the gut is healthier and better able to absorb nutrients as they pass through the digestive tract.

There are a wide range of foods that naturally contain prebiotics, in particular aromatic vegetables including onions, leeks and celery. As well as wheat bran, soy beans, rye based breads and green bananas. While ripe bananas offer the health benefits of 3-5g of dietary fibre per serve, which is still important for gut health, green bananas in particular offer a significant dose of the powerful pre-biotic, resistant starch linked to a number of positive health outcomes.

3. Eat more fibre

Few Australians get the dietary fibre they need each day to help support gut health. Ideally we need a mix of both soluble and insoluble fibre ensure that our digestive tract works efficiently and keeps us regular, but an optimal intake of fibre is also linked to healthy gut bacteria; helping to lower cholesterol levels and helping us to feel lighter and more active. 

An adult requires 25-30g of fibre each day to keep the digestive system healthy and help to reduce the risk of constipation, some types of cancer and diverticular disease. In order to get this much fibre you will need to consume at least two pieces of fruits like bananas which contain 3g of fibre per serve, 2-3 cups of vegetables and 1-2 serves of wholegrains such as oats, wholegrain or rye bread, quinoa, brown rice or buckwheat.