Food for thought

Our gut health is an important part of our immune system and also for our general well being. Bloating, pain and problems with constipation, gas and burping are symptoms I hear about from my patients regularly. 

Here are some tips I give my patients*:

  • Eat slowly- we are always in a rush, onto the next thing and in the middle of doing something else. Take your time when you eat, chew properly – these simple things form an important part of the start of the digestive process
  • Portion sizes- heard the one that ‘your eyes are bigger than your belly’- well it’s true. We eat with our eyes rather than our stomachs sometimes so think about your portions, put less on your plate and see how you feel towards the end of the smaller amount. Eating too much at a meal is a simple cause of indigestion and bloating
  • Eat regularly- Regularly having big gaps between meals can affect your stomach when you sit down to eat. It can also mean we are more likely to eat more as we are starving if we’ve not eaten for a long time. Unless you are Fasting, eating at regular times is helpful for your gut and digestion.
  • Eat early- eating late at night delays digestion and also affects your sleep. And we know that is not a good combination for overall wellbeing 
  • Its not just what you eat- its what you drink too. Water, water, water. Essential for digestion and good gut health. We can pretty much always drink more. Remember coffee and tea are dehydrating so ensure you match these with another glass of water during the day
  • Fibre- not eating enough fibre has been linked to increased risk of bowel cancer and cardiovascular disease. How much is enough? 25-30g for adult per day is recommended. Eating enough fibre can also help weight management and wellbeing. In real terms suggestions1 medium pear, 2 carrots 50g of oats ( a good portion of morning porridge) 1 apple, a portion of broccoli 
  • Fermented foods- these have been shown to be helpful for digestion and the bugs that live in our gut. Pickles, sauerkraut, you can even make your own ( blog)
  • Sources of probiotic bacteria- by eating a diet with lots of vegetables and fermented foods as well as yoghurt with live cultures we can help the bacteria in our gut. Sometimes we need a bit more support and live cultures/‘probiotic’ products can be an addition to our daily routine- especially if you have been on antibiotics or been unwell.

Dr Clara Russell 

*If symptoms persist or your are worried it’s essential you consult your doctor as sometimes things need a bit more investigation. This is not a substitute for medical advice