The importance of gut health on our mood – The tips

Welcome to Part II of MEDA’S gut health vs mood series. Now that you’ve read the science (if you haven’t, you can find the piece here) we want to equip you with the top five things you can do to boost your gut health and consequently your mood.

Introduce probiotic rich foods
Probiotic rich foods are foods that are live with gut-friendly bacteria that are beneficial for our digestive system. And no, we are not talking about eating your 3-month-old cheddar covered in blue fuzz, we are talking about fermented foods. Fermented foods are foods that have undergone fermentation and microbial growth in order to provide us with advantageous bacteria. Our favourites include: Kefir, Kombucha, Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Live Miso and Live Yogurt. Try incorporating these 3-5 times per week to reap the rewards.

Incorporate prebiotic rich foods
Our existing, or newly added friendly bacteria, need fibre to feed off and thrive. And this is where prebiotic foods enter in. Prebiotic foods are those that are rich in insoluble fibre and hard for our digestive system to break down. Why is this good you may ask? It means the fibre makes it to the intestines still intact, giving our bacteria the opportunity to feed off them. Good bacteria, fibre-rich prebiotic foods to reach for include: raw garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, flax seeds, apples and oats.

Eat the rainbow
Variety is key for the trillions of bacteria that reside in our gut. The more plant-based, colourful foods you can incorporate into your diet, the better your gut bacteria will dine! Aim for 20/30 different plant-based foods in your diet per week. A top tip – reach for foods you’ve never tried before that are in season.

Digestion doesn’t begin in your stomach; what happens in your mouth is a central part of digestion. Chewing breaks down your food into smaller pieces and allows the digestive enzymes in your mouth to further breakdown your food. Ideally, try to chew your food 20-30 times before you swallow to make sure it is properly broken down. 

Take a rest
Giving your gut and the gut bugs that live there a break from digesting food can help keep your gut thriving and happy. Try having 12 hours between your last meal of the day and first meal the next day to give yourself the necessary rest. Think 8pm dinner time cut off, and 8 am breakfast time!