We have known for some time, that there is a direct connection between our gut health and our mental wellbeing. ‘Trust your gut’ is an age old saying that relates to our six sense in our guts, providing us with a hunch about something. It could help us feel more confident, or a greater level of anxiety about a person or a decision we need to make.
Gut is another word for our gastrointestinal or digestive tract. It refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in our digestive tract, otherwise known as our gut microbiome. Research on our microbiome is still in its initial stages but studies have already found that certain environments, foods, and behaviours can influence our gut health and mindset for better or for worse.
This past year turned our lives upside down and made us question how healthy our diets and lifestyles are, seeking out ways in which to boost our immunity. Some of us have become vegan or vegetarians, many of us are turning to more plant-based diets and researching the benefits of taking a daily supplement or two!
Over exposure to processed foods, toxins, parasites, medications, sedentary lifestyles, and stress, can leave us feeling unwell, with the general population experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms including:
Bloating – Although gas is a normal part of the fermentation and digestion in our body, bad bacteria strains can lead to excessive gas. This happens when digesting certain foods such as protein and carbohydrates.
Insomnia – Research has shown that people that are often tired have abnormal levels of gut bacteria. This can disrupt our sleep and leave us feeling overtired the next day.
Weight issues – Certain types of bacteria can cause us to gain weight – this is a common sign of gut imbalance. If our gut isn’t working at its optimum, our body is unable to absorb vital nutrients.
Around 70 percent of our immune system is housed in our gut. Pre pandemic we may have been familiar with multi-vitamins and the benefits of having a regular Vitamin B jab. Post pandemic more of us are familiar with probiotics, collagen, biotin, the benefits of Vitamin D and eating fermented foods.
But how many of us are familiar with prebiotics and postbiotics? Interesting, isn’t it – this sudden interested in ‘biotic’s. The word ‘biotic’ refers to relating to or resulting from living organisms, that help us in developing and maintaining a healthy immune system.
Whilst we may not have given this much thought before – all of us have millions of bacteria in our body – tiny organisms that live in our skin, our mouths, and our gut. Good gut bacteria are essential for our body, and it is important to have a diverse microbial community in our gut. Imbalance in our gut can lead to inflammation, which can impact our physical and our mental health, and result in chronic diseases including obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that when consumed in adequate measures are beneficial to our gut health, and can be found in foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir and yoghurt that contain live cultures. Prebiotics are the fuel for our healthy gut bacteria, taken in the form of dietary fibre from fruits like bananas, vegetables including chicory, legumes, and flax seeds.
A healthy balanced diet should provide our gut with all the fuel it needs. Unfortunately stress and our hectic modern lifestyles don’t always provide us with the balanced meals we need to absorb these vital nutrients, this is where turning to a daily supplement can really be of benefit. When reaching out for a probiotic, look out for those that have CFU on the label (colony-forming units) and that contain a variety of different strains of bacteria including lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. Prebiotics should be a source of fibre and contain inulin or fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
Postbiotics are the metabolites or end products of the fermentation process, the waste produced by probiotics when they feed on prebiotics. They are said to provide us with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and help to boost our immune system and improve our gut’s barrier.
Some foods are better than others when it comes to the health of our guts
Fibre – is a plant-based nutrient that reduces the risk of metabolic diseases by stimulating the growth and diversity of good bacteria in our gut. Sweet potatoes, spinach, beets, carrots, and fennel are full of naturally gut-enhancing fibre. Whole grains are a rich source of fibre too.
Probiotic Foods – include kimchi, kombucha and kefir and aid in boosting the population of healthy bacteria in our guts.
Prebiotic Foods – help to keep healthy microorganisms alive and can be found in bananas, garlic, leeks, and onions.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods – Like fatty fish, flaxseeds and walnuts contain nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in our body.
We understand that our diet is very closely linked to the way we look and feel but do not dismiss exercise and the inclusion of supplements to support a healthy lifestyle.
Supplementing has become increasingly more popular as we have become more aware of what our bodies need. Regularly taking a probiotic supplement can help people with chronic constipation, diarrhoea, poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, and recurrent ailments.
Collagen has been on the rise for the past two to three years now. A protein that is full of amino acids, it makes up 90% of our connective tissue and organic bone mass. It also helps with digestive issues – when it comes to leaky gut and IBS, amino acids are essential. It has been shown to improve and repair stomach problems. Our body naturally produces collagen however as we age, from the age of our 20’s onwards, the level of collagen our bodies produce decreases resulting in the first signs of ageing.
We have seen several brands launching collagen supplements, and skincare products that contain collagen. From our award-winning client Simone Thomas Wellness, to new to the market Aussie brand Dose & Co, the renowned Absolute Collagen and Lumity. These brands offer a diverse assortment of products that can be taken as an oral supplement or dissolved in water. Easy to fit into our daily routines, enabling us to reap the benefits of staying younger for longer.
Regular exercise is important not only for our muscles and joints, but for our mental health and the health of our gut, reducing digestive problems. It increases blood flow to our muscles, and helps to keep our digestive system moving, allowing food to pass more quickly through our systems. Studies have shown that working out increases the populations of beneficial bacteria in our gastrointestinal tract by up to 40%.
Are you looking to develop a brand in the wellness industry? If so, you are onto a good thing. The global dietary supplements market is expected to grow 8.6% between 2021 and 2028 (Researchandmarkets.com). We have worked with several clients to build a brand in the Wellness industry. If you have a great idea that you would like to bring to life, or an existing business where you are looking for support and expertise to grow your business, Get in Touch, we would Love to hear from you!
Unless someone comes from a background in this industry, you wouldn’t know what is required. Not only do I have the support of an experienced team to help me to make things happen and to grow my brand, but I also have a great personal relationship with Janet and her team, working in this way means I have someone to turn to, to share the journey of running a business.