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5 things you need to know about your gut health

Do you listen to your gut instincts? Dr. Megan Rossi, AKA, The Gut Health Doctor, is here to help you understand what your gut is telling you about your body.

She joined the Fit and Fearless team, Tally, Zanna and Vic, on the podcast this week to talk about your gut health.

1. Eat a variety of foods for maximum gut health

We all know that we should be eating healthily, but did you know that we should try to eat a range of foods for better health?

Dr. Rossi says “We want to have a really diverse range of different microbes in our gut, because that’s been associated with the best health.”

By eating different types of food, we develop different types of microbes, which help to break down our food.

“If you’re just eating the same five foods every day, then you’re only growing a certain type of microbe community.”

2. Bloating is totally normal

Bloating can be really uncomfortable and can be a sign that something is wrong, but some bloating is completely normal.

Zanna says that her plant-based diet causes her to bloat after eating sometimes: “People act like that’s a huge issue, and I just think it comes with the territory of eating a ridiculously high-fibre diet.”

Dr. Rossi explains “We are bloating if we have heaps of those plant-based foods is because of dietary fibre, which is found in plant-based foods. Humans can’t actually digest it. It gets into the lower part of our intestine, where the microbes eat it.

“And they love it, it’s really good for them. But one of the waste products is gas, and that can cause that little bit of bloating.”

Dr. Rossi adds if your bloating is painful, frequent or extreme, you should see your GP.

3. Gluten can be good for you

It’s common to see people cutting out gluten now, but it can be really good for you.

Dr. Rossi says “Gluten is actually a type of protein that’s found in your wheat, barley and rye. There’s been some really cool research where they took surveys from close to 200,000 people and what they looked at was how much gluten they were having in their diet.

“They compared the group that had the highest amount of gluten, and the group that had the lowest amount of gluten.

“They found those that had the highest amount of gluten actually had a 13% reduction in their risk of diabetes. And that’s related to the fact that gluten is in our high-fibre cereals like the wheat, the barley and the rye.

“So by just focusing on the gluten and forgetting that it’s packaged in really beneficial types of foods to include in your diet, like wholegrains, we really miss out on a lot of the benefit of these foods.”

Dr. Rossi adds unless you have Celiac disease, or another kind of kind of gluten intolerance, it’s perfectly safe and beneficial to consume products with gluten.

4. Avoid tight clothing if you’re having gut problems

High-waisted or tight clothing can make you feel really uncomfortable, and can even cause some gut problems. It’s known as “tight pant syndrome”.

“A physician did research into it many many years ago, before the whole concept of IBS, because he was getting reports of a lot of his patients having these gut issues, and they found that at the time it was really popular to have high-waisted jeans and really tight belts and things like that.

“And he found that by literally asking his patients to have a looser belt, wear looser clothes around their gut, then they didn’t get that severe pain.” Dr. Rossi says.

So if you’re finding that your clothes are digging into your stomach and you’re feeling uncomfortable it might be time to ditch the skinny jeans.

5. Cutting out distractions can help you digest your food

We’re surrounded by social media and online distractions 24/7 nowadays. While everyone has heard that you should avoid devices leading up to bedtime, lots of us don’t know that we should drop the phones and tablets while we eat, too.

Dr. Rossi said we’re less likely to chew properly while we’re distracted, which can delay our digestion “Make sure you’re chewing food enough times, because actually in our mouths is where digestion begins. Not only are we physically breaking it down, we produce enzymes in our saliva that starts to chemically break it down.”

Dr. Rossi recommends chewing each mouthful 10-15 times, depending on how hard the food is.

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