Gut Health and How It’s Affecting Your Progress
When you begin the journey of trying to improve your health and fitness, what are the first steps you take? Usually, you will begin searching for a workout schedule, and getting yourself on a healthier diet – chances are, taking steps to improve the bacteria in your gut doesn’t even cross your mind! Gut health doesn’t just impact your digestion but can have a huge impact on your overall health. This is caused by a microbiome in your gut – and this is what will stunt your progress.
What is a microbiome?
The microbiome in your gut is made up of trillions of microorganisms and their genetic material that live in your intestinal tract. These microorganisms are critical to your health and wellbeing. Your microbiome controls many aspects of your body such as your brain health, energy levels, skin and even muscle function.
Gut health and fitness
Gut health can have various impacts on your day-to-day life such as metabolism, nutrient absorption, sleep and regulating the immune system – all of which will ultimately impact any goals you have for your health and fitness. Additionally, when exercising, the increased activity means our body requires more energy (from nutrients). A healthy gut helps to metabolise and absorb these nutrients more efficiently, therefore leading to better performance in the gym!
Gut health and diet
The main function of our gut is to digest the food we eat and absorb nutrients, so it is important to pay attention to things that can change how effective your gut is at absorbing these nutrients, including your diet. Consuming a high-fat diet can negatively alter your microbiome, which can cause increased inflammation leading to issues such as diabetes and obesity. It has been found that eating a healthy diet filled with foods that are good for your gut, can halt those pesky cravings for junk food, and will have you reaching for healthier options.
Tips to achieve a healthier gut:
- Focus on diet – Ensuring your diet is filled with nutritious, gut-healthy foods is going to aid in healthy digestion, healthy absorption of nutrients, and keep you happy and healthy. An easy way to keep your diet in check is by following a meal plan or using meal prep. This stops you from reaching for those foods that are less nutrient-dense, and higher in fat that will cause havoc on your gut. Eating a diet high in fibre, and getting enough lean protein has been shown to contribute massively to a healthy gut biome.
- Get enough sleep – Not getting enough sleep can have significant impacts on your gut health, which then causes more disturbed sleep and the cycle will continue.
- Incorporate prebiotics or probiotics – Prebiotics are found in fruits and vegetables and help to stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria within your gut. Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in supplements and certain foods such as yoghurt and tempeh.
- Health shots – Incorporating shots that have ingredients such as Ginger, and Turmeric can be extremely beneficial to your gut health. Ginger is an anti-inflammatory and is great for healthy digestion, along with aiding your body’s natural defences, whilst Turmeric helps with digestion, increases the efficiency of your immune system as well as supporting your joints after those intense workouts!
- Check for food intolerances – It is important to listen to what your gut is telling you. If you have any symptoms such as cramping, bloating, or abdominal pain this could be due to having a food intolerance. We eat a variety of food types daily, so spotting intolerances can be a tricky business. Try keeping a food diary to help with trying to spot these. If you can identify the food(s) that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health by changing your eating habits.
Being sure to incorporate gut health into your health and fitness goals is key for succeeding long term. To help you on your journey to a healthy gut, we have a large selection of healthy meal prep plans, tailored to your dietary requirements. Each meal is packed with a balance of lean protein, carbohydrates and those all-important vegetables to ensure you’re looking after your gut – so it can look after you.