Beach season is just around the corner, and now is the perfect time to “Spring into Shape”. In case you haven’t heard, our gut microbiota plays an absolutely central role in our health. They’re critical not only to digestion, but also to our immune system, metabolism, hormonal balance, and even our brain function.
Folks, you don’t have health if you don’t have gut health. With that in mind, here are 3 simple tips to improve your gut health as you “Spring into Shape”:
Maximize plant-based diversity
The single greatest predictor of a healthy gut is the diversity of plants that you eat.[i] With that in mind, every time you set foot in the supermarket you should be enthusiastically perusing the produce aisles in search of a fresh, new fruit or veggie that you can add into your mix. Every time you sit down to eat it should cross your mind, “How can I get more variety of plants into this dish?” Something as simple as a sprinkle of herbs or spices, a squeeze of citrus, or a garnish with carrots and celery can help.
Take the Eimele meal replacement sachets, for example. They’re great as is, and designed to be complete nutrition. But it’s SO EASY to start with the Eimele Kakadu Plum, Pineapple & Coconut Porridge and add blueberries, ground flaxseed, chia seeds and chopped walnuts on top. Or take the Eimele Creamy Mushroom & Corn Soup and add spinach, blanched bok choy, coriander, and a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds. Boom! Done. Delicious. And diverse.
Maintain a healthy schedule
Your body has a natural rhythm designed to work optimally at certain times during the day and suboptimally at other times. For example, you are most insulin sensitive first thing in the morning and least insulin sensitive late in the evening.[ii] Crazy, right? You could literally eat eating the exact same food but at a different time of day and your body reacts differently to it. What this means is that snacking late at night is putting your gut to work when it really wants to just rest. With this in mind, I’d recommend eating dinner as early as possible. Does 6pm sound early? Well, it’d be even better if it were 5pm! In doing this, I am asking you to commit to dinner being the last food of the day. Make it a hard rule, once dinner is done, it’s water only until the following morning.
Keep yourself hydrated
This may be the easiest yet most overlooked thing to do for our health and it’s so simple. Just drink more water. Why do we make this so difficult? Oh yeah, because we love our coffee. I’m guilty as charged on that one! And many of us love our soda too. Trust me, I’ve struggled with this one too. The problem is most of us spend too much time sipping caffeine, which only makes us more dehydrated. Do you ever have dry, chapped lips or cotton mouth? Those are signs of dehydration, my friend. You need more water.
With this in mind, I started an approach over a year ago that has boosted my energy levels and mental clarity, and it’s incredibly simple. I made water my “go to” beverage throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy my coffee, but the first thing I do in the morning is drink two large glasses of water. Then, as I’m enjoying my coffee, if I feel the chapped lips or cotton mouth coming on, I put the coffee mug down for a little bit and pick up the water bottle. My point is that every meal is an opportunity to ignore the sweetened beverage and opt for water, perhaps with a squeeze of lemon in it.
[i] mSystems May 2018, 3 (3) e00031-18