ad | I turned 30 last year and I’ve definitely been a bit more health conscious since then. If you’ve followed me for long enough, you’ll know that I’ve been practicing Yoga for almost a decade and I’m also very interested in self-care and wellness and all the ways we can improve all areas of the two.
From physical health to emotional well-being, there are so many different areas of health, wellness and self-care to tend to. It can definitely seem a bit overwhelming at times, especially within our busy modern day lives.
But one area of our wellness that’s really important to start giving a little extra attention to as we get older, is our gut health. And improving gut health is vital, especially when you are around 30 where health complications are more likely to start.
So if you’ve not given much thought to your gut health recently, I hope this post serves as a gentle reminder.
What is the difference between gut health and stomach health?
On the surface, it definitely sounds like we’re talking about the same thing when we say gut health and stomach health. But actually, although they overlap, they are quite different and will require different things to ensure their optimum health.
The stomach is the J shaped organ in your body that digests food. The gut is the long tube that starts from the mouth and ends at the anus. Also knows as the GI tract, the gut includes the stomach, small and large intestine, stomach, esophagus and more.
I’m not a medical professional, so I want to keep the language simple (because I think that also helps us “every day” people understand more easily how to keep our gut and stomach healthy):
- The stomach is part of the gut / GI tract and they are both part of the digestive system
- The stomach’s main function is to digest food
- Whereas the gut also digests and absorbs nutrients and eliminates waste
How to improve stomach health
Stomach health will refer to your digestive health. As that’s the stomach’s main function – to digest your food. So of course, what you eat will play a HUGE part in your digestive health.
A good rule of thumb is that if your digestive system is functioning as it should, you shouldn’t notice it. When you start to experience things like diarrhoea, constipation or bloating, then that might be a sign that something is off.
And of course, you’ll want to go and get any unusual symptoms checked out by a doctor as well.
A diet high in fibre is a great starting point for improving your stomach health as it will aid with digestion, so increase your intake of fruit and veggies as well as whole grains, beans and lentils.
How to improve gut health
Gut health typically refers to the state of the GI tract lining and the bacteria within the gut. This includes the large and small intestine, anus and mouth. Gut health encompasses stomach health – you can’t have one without the other.
So when we possess good gut health from the top to the bottom, we will likely also experience good digestion, a better overall sense of well-being and our bodies will be more adapt at absorbing the nutrients we need.
How can we support gut health?
There are plenty of things we can do to improve our overall gut health, which, includes the stomach and your digestive health as well:
Taking supplements that target your digestive and gut health is a great way to start with improving it. As it’s a quick and easy thing to add into your every day routine!
The bio-kult every day supplement has 14 live bacteria to compliment your existing gut bacteria and help digestion. Other supplements to take to improve gut health include probiotics, fibre and omega-3. Gundry MD supplements may also be worth looking at, so take a look at these Gundry MD reviews to find out more.
Eat the right food
The most obvious point but one that we all tend to need reminding of every now and again and that’s eating the right food to promote and encourage gut health.
I’m never one to deprive myself of things I enjoy. So if you fancy a takeaway pizza or a Chinese, you should definitely get one! But just be mindful of the takeaways and processed foods you’re eating and try and cut down or replace them with something healthier.
Fill your plate up with vegetables, add more fruit into your diet and just generally be a bit more wary about the processed food you eat. In today’s world, it’s difficult to cut them out completely. But we can cut down, little by little.
Move your body more
Being a healthy weight for you is another great way to ward off digestive problems, so moving your body more, in ways that feel good for you is a great way to aid digestive and gut health.
Movement also improves your mental-health, which, considering the point below, is another excellent step at improving gut health too. So for this one, you’re getting two-in-one! Win win!
It’s important to find movement and exercise that you enjoy. For me, that’s walking, Yoga and swimming. But you might want to try cycling, HIIT workouts, going to the gym, playing tennis or any other number of fun exercises!
Manage your stress and anxiety
This is a big point and one that on the surface, doesn’t look like it would make much difference but really, your brain and your gut have a HUGE connection that you might not be aware of.
You experience this every time you “go with your gut” or get “butterflies” in your stomach. Something we’ve all experience in times of excitement or anxiety.
If you’ve ever experienced difficulty eating or problems with your gut when you’re stressed or nervous, then that’s a good example of how this is connected.
Personally, this one is REALLY prominent for me. When I’m really anxious about something, the last thing I want to do is eat. And when I’m really nervous, I find myself heading for the toilet – a LOT!
So ensuring that you manage your stress and anxiety is vital in good gut health. Obviously stress is going to happen to all of us and there’s sometimes only so much we can do but focusing on self-care and incorporating good stress busting habits into our day is a good place to start.
Find out more about the brian-gut connection here – it’s fascinating!
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep – or good quality sleep – isn’t beneficial for anyone. It can cause weight gain, extra stress, a disrupted circadian rhythm which then in turn can lead to bad gut health.
It’s so important to remember how connected your whole body is. So one thing can highly affect another. This is why overall healthy habits are worth incorporating into your day because they do impact the whole body and mind.
Try and set up a night-time routine for yourself, turn your devices off before bed, do some light stretching, read a book and set yourself up for a great night sleep.