And My Top 3 Recommendations to improve your gut health
We read Gut, by Guilia Enders, as part of Fighting Fit Together and the ‘Book club’ sessions, through Mach 2021.
I enjoyed reading this book but can understand how some members found it slightly overwhelming with all information discussed.
Having studied evidence-based nutrition online with The Mac Nutrition University, I thought I would be able to read this book with relative ease.
The problem I found was that where the research is still emerging most of the studies are still being done on animals/and are small-sized case studies, often with fairly inconclusive results.
There are some results that look very optimistic for the future and will lead to further research being carried out, which will lead to more answers, guidelines, and recommendations.
One thing that is definite is that the gut is complex and does much more than we originally thought. It is diverse and has its own ‘brain’.
There are also connections between the gut and the brain, essential to be explored for both our physical and our mental health. Not just for digestive and medical issues but our overall health, well-being, happiness, and mood.
Medically, as well as therapeutically.
For example, fructose intolerance is connected to depression.
Fructose binds with the amino acid tryptophan, and if we do not digest that fructose molecule (due to an overconsumption of fructose, often from processed foods, not fruit alone), the tryptophan also passes through our system undigested. This amino acid is needed to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain linked to happiness – therefore a lack of serotonin can result in depression.
But, as with all nutrition, there are no ‘rules’ as to how much fructose is too much fructose… it will vary from individual to individual. And, you need to ensure you are also consuming enough protein, from high-quality sources.
So, after reading the book, my conclusion comes back to the not very exciting advice of eating a healthy balanced diet… here are 3 of my top recommendations:
1. Be mindful of what you consume and perhaps any intolerances you may have Consider keeping a food, mood and bowel movement diary. This could help to identify if perhaps you have an intolerance to lactose, gluten or fructose. Stress also plays a major role in digestive upset, including, but not limited to, Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Hypnotherapy has been proven effective in the treatment of IBS – in some studies reducing symptoms more effectively than medication.
2. Limit processed foods and cook fresh and consuming a variey, when possible. Ideally locally sourced and in season, but frozen and tinned fruits and vegetables are often convenient and affordable options too.
Adequate protein intake is essential for more than just developing muscles, too. Sources such as turkey and chicken have the highest proportion of tryptophan, needed for serotonin production.
Dairy has moderate amounts, for those who aren’t lactose intolerant. For vegans it is essential to ensure you get a variety of plant-based source, to make up complete proteins. Soya beans are a good plant-based source.
3. Increase your fiber intake by increasing your consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as resistant starches. This includes cooked and cooled rice and potatoes. Rice is safe to reheat; ensure you cool it and refrigerate it after cooking and ensure you heat it until it is piping hot. Consume within 3 days. Whole wheat is higher in fiber than the more processed white versions of bread, rice, and pasta.
I hope you have found this information helpful, if you would like to discuss your nutrition further, with regards to weight loss or perhaps digestive issues, please feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
P.s Here is a video discussing the book, with a member of Fighting Fit Together, and hypnotherapist, Glen Mitchell: