5 easy ways to maintain your gut health
5 easy ways to maintain your gut health
You have worked hard on your gut health and are finally feeling amazing! Your bowel movements are on point, bloating is under control and you have a spring in your step that you want to last forever. You may have even completed the 10-day gutright challenge while following the modbiotic food list and are now wondering how you can incorporate a larger variety of foods into your diet while ensuring you maintain feeling great. Keep reading to find out our top 5 recommendations to maintain your gut health after completing the gutright challenge. If you have not completed the challenge these tips could also be helpful for maintaining that good gut feeling after a “detox” or any hard work you have been doing in this area.
Post 10-day Gutright Challenge Maintenance Phase
Slowly re-introduce complex carbohydrate foods such as whole grains and starchy carbs such as potatoes and legumes. You could try 1 type of food every 1-3 days so you can measure how your body responds. Ask yourself these questions during the 24-72 hours after you eat:
- Was the food easy to digest or does your stomach feel sluggish and less agreeable?
- How are your bowel movements?
- Are you bloated?
- Any changes in your energy levels?
- Has your mood changed?
- Any other physical, mental, or emotional changes?
You might like to write these observations down in a diary as you introduce more foods to allow you to keep track of the progress you are making and what foods are working for you right now. Include other events that have occurred that day such as sleep quality, stress levels and anything else you feel is relevant so that you can rule out any changes that might not be related to the food you are eating.
Maintain 1 scoop per day of the Gutright, it is important to note that continuing with 1 scoop of Gutright each day is as important as the 10-day protocol. In the past, people have completed the challenge experience the most benefits after 6 weeks of being in the maintenance phase.
Whenever or wherever possible follow these top 5 tips
1. Eat local and eat a wide variety of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, and whole grains).
This will help ensure that the hard work you have put into feeling good is not undone.
Try heading down to the local farmer's markets, this is a great way to get some fresh local produce at a price that you can afford. Now is the chance to try out a new recipe once a week, or if you are really committed and prepared to make the time you can plan out your week's worth of food and dedicate a couple of hours to meal preparation before your week starts. Grow that recipe base! What special kitchen contraption have you locked away in the back of the cupboard with the intention to use it one day soon, now is the time to pull it out and experiment. Brainstorm some ideas on how you can eat whole foods and enjoy them, how you can make it fun, you can get your family or friends involved in cooking a new meal once a week. Remember that change can take time and you may have to try a few different things
to work out how you can make consistently eating local whole foods work for you, be kind to yourself while you are on this journey!
While you are experimenting with new meals and recipes try including foods high in polyphenols. This is a great way to help support a healthy gut microbiome.
· Herbal teas (for flavonoids and polyphenols) – green tea, white tea, black tea, hibiscus (rosella), rosehip tea.
· Cranberry, grapes
· Kelp, nori
· Garlic and onion
· Rosemary, parsley, coriander, rocket, Vietnamese mint, mint
· Almonds and hazelnuts with skin on
· Mustard and horseradish
· Pomegranate, persimmon and grapefruit
· Pomegranate seed oil, coconut oil
· Dorrigo pepper/mountain pepper (Australian native)
· Broccoli, broccoli sprouts, watercress, mustard greens, kale, spinach (not too much)
· Radishes – red, daikon, horse
· Fermented foods (except yoghurt) - kimchi and sauerkraut
2. Eat in Season
Local farmer's markets are a great way to do this. Buying fresh straight from the farmer is one way to ensure that you are buying in-season fruit and vegetables that are fresh, the fresher the produce the more nutrients as foods that sit for long periods of time will have a decrease in nutrients. If you cannot hit the farmers’ markets and have a smartphone, there are apps that you can use to check what is in season and has not potentially been sitting in a fridge for months on end while nutrient levels deplete. Another option is to jump online and print out a cheat sheet that lists monthly seasonal produce for where you are living, you can then put this in your shopping bags and use it at the supermarket. Quality is key, buying and eating in season is one way to increase the quality of the food you eat.
3. Organic/ free-range / biodynamic
It is important to note that organic produce will tend to have lower pesticide residues and higher amounts of polyphenols due to the increased plant metabolites associated with organic produce. (1) Polyphenols are extremely beneficial for gut health. (2) Most of these are found in the skin/husks, so where possible purchase organic and refrain from peeling vegetables where practical. Organic produce is not accessible to everyone, the next best option is to be sure to wash fruits and vegetables. Choose grass-fed, free range, and hormone/antibiotic-free meats if they are not certified organic. Limit intake of meat cold cuts as they are generally processed or cured using various other ingredients such as sugar, salt, and other preservatives which are best not consumed in large amounts for many different health reasons. (3)
4. Sit down to eat (do not eat on the run).
Make the time for meals and allow the body to go through the processes it needs in order to promote adequate digestion. We eat with our eyes, nose, and mouth, look at the food and smell it, this may cause a mouth-watering effect. Good! In your saliva are enzymes that begin digestion before the food’s nutrients even enter the stomach. This can que a cascade of processes that allows the body to prepare and carry out the digestion process.
5. Eat the peels, pips, skins, pulp, seeds, and fiber.
Incorporate these into daily eating practices in many different ways, more time to get creative here!
- Consider smoothies instead of fruit juice to incorporate the whole food.
- When buying organic leave the skin on and cook with the whole food instead of peeling fruits and vegetables when possible.
- Use seeds such as pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds to jazz up salads, porridge, and stir-fries. Try using chia seeds to make a chia porridge in place of oats a couple of times a week or add them to oats.
Take Home Message
Eating a variety of whole foods is the best thing you can do for your gut, save the processing (cooking etc.) for when you get home whenever possible (you can’t be perfect all the time and we totally understand this). If you have worked hard to get your gut feeling great, use this as motivation to introduce some new habits, shop local, seasonal, and as clean and fresh as possible, experiment with new recipes, and give your daily eating experiences the time and respect that they deserve when you can. You are what you eat and you and your guts deserve quality!
1. Glibowski P. Organic food and health. Rocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2020;71(2):131-136. doi: 10.32394/rpzh.2020.0110. PMID: 32519524.
2. Cardona F, Andrés-Lacueva C, Tulipani S, Tinahones FJ, Queipo-Ortuño MI. Benefits of polyphenols on gut microbiota and implications in human health. J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Aug;24(8):1415-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.05.001. PMID: 23849454.
3. Battaglia Richi E, Baumer B, Conrad B, Darioli R, Schmid A, Keller U. Health Risks Associated with Meat Consumption: A Review of Epidemiological Studies. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2015;85(1-2):70-8. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000224. PMID: 26780279.