Good Gut Health

in Health & Beauty

Did you know that there are about 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are in your intestines. Most of these bacteria are good for you, especially the ones found in your gut which not only help you digest food, but which can also be good for your physical and mental health.

Did you know that there are about 40 trillion bacteria in your body, most of which are in your intestines. Most of these bacteria are good for you, especially the ones found in your gut which not only help you digest food, but which can also be good for your physical and mental health.

The signs of an unhealthy gut can often show up as problematic digestive symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, stomach-ache, heartburn or indigestion. 

So just what should and shouldn’t you eat to keep your gut healthy? Eating a wide variety of whole, unprocessed foods, including fibre, probiotics and a range of fruit and vegetables, is an important baseline for good gut health. The three worst foods for your gut include alcohol, sugar and artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers. 

The good news is that eating certain fruits, nuts and seeds can offer health benefits for your gut. Some of these gut-friendly food products can even be eaten as snacks, which is great for when you’re feeling a little hungry between meals and want to munch on something tasty. Most of the fruits, nuts and seeds mentioned below supply healthy oils such as Omega 3 (walnuts) and are also high in protein plus essential minerals.

Walnuts are packed full of good fats, minerals and vitamins thought to support your mood and give you a glow and evidence also suggests these brain-shaped kernels are also good for your mental performance. One study found that eating a small number of walnuts every day can improve gut health. Holland & Barrett Organic Walnuts are noted for their soft, sweet, nutty taste and are a source of Biotin, Manganese and Copper. The light amber walnut pieces can be used in all kinds of cooking and baking recipes. Why not add some to salads and pasta dishes for a little crunch or put some ground walnuts in to your mincemeat when you are cooking chilli or Bolognese.

Holland & Barrett Roasted Pistachio Nuts are high in dietary fibre and perfect for on-the-go snacking. Eating pistachios may help the overall health of your gut health by keeping digestion moving. Dietary fibre usually moves through the digestive system undigested. However, some fibres work as prebiotics in the system as they’re digested by the good bacteria in your system.

Macadamia Nuts are rich in soluble fibre, which acts as a prebiotic in the gut, encouraging good bacteria to blossom there. Enjoy macadamia nuts on top of salads, sprinkled on soups or served with roast veggies, or if you want a healthy snack, try a pack of Holland & Barrett Almonds, Macadamia Nuts & Cranberry.   

Flaxseed is rich in fibre which can help prevent constipation and other digestive issues. Another bonus of flaxseed is that it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, stopping you from reaching for those unhealthy snacks. Flaxseed oil, also known as Linseed oil, is an excellent natural source of Alpha Linolenic Acid (ALA) which is an Omega-3 fatty acid. As the body is unable to produce them on its own, Omega-3 fatty acids are essential dietary additions. Take one or two Holland & Barrett Vegetarian Flaxseed Oil capsules daily or get into the habit of stirring two heaped dessert spoons of Linwoods Milled Flaxseed & Goji Berries into your morning bowl of porridge, cereal or muesli.

Unsalted seeds, including sunflower seeds, are also excellent sources of fibre, which aids digestion. Sunflower seeds also contain antioxidants like selenium and vitamin E to help protect cells and prevent chronic disease. Grab a bag of Holland & Barrett Stunning Sunflower Seeds and enjoy a daily handful. 

Dates have many nutritional benefits and they are high in fibre which may help prevent constipation and improve your digestive health. They are also a versatile ingredient that you can enjoy in both sweet and savoury dishes. For a refreshing dessert, peel 4 oranges and remove the white pith. Place the orange segments in a bowl along with any juices, then add some Holland & Barrett Chopped Dates, some rose syrup or rosewater and toss gently. Divide between 4 dessert bowls, scatter on mint leaves and serve – delicious!

Prunes have been part of our grandparents’ folklore where they were known as a good remedy to help with constipation. They are a source of both insoluble and soluble fibre: insoluble fibre helps keep your bowel movements regular, while soluble fibre helps to moderate digestion and absorb nutrients from your food. Aim to eat 5-6 Holland & Barrett Pitted Californian Prunes daily to boost your digestive health. 

Vegetarians and vegans sometimes experience digestive issues whey they start eating plants, but over time a new balance will become established. Cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are all good for gut health but are also great sources of iron for vegetarians. To add more iron into your diet, take 10ml of Floradix Formula Herbal Iron available from Holland & Barrett twice a day, approximately 30 minutes before morning and evening meals.

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