Bowels have never been so ‘sexy’! Ok maybe not sexy but there is certainly a buzz around bowel health with more and more research attention given to the gut microbiome and it’s far reaching impact on health. But what is really important when it comes to nutrition and good bowel health? Let’s get the basics right first!
- Fibre- most adults fall far short of the recommended 30g of fibre/day. Gradually increase your fibre intake by snacking on fruit and nuts, adding more vegetables or salad to meals and choosing wholegrain breads, cereals and flours. This is what 30g of fibre could look like in a day:
- 1 bowl muesli or branflakes
- 2 slices multigrain or wholegrain bread
- an apple and a banana
- 3 vegetables with dinner
- 1/2 cup kidney beans thrown in with the pasta sauce or stew
- 30g almonds as a snack
- Fluid- like fibre, most people don’t drink enough water. Aim for 2.5L and more if it’s hot or you’re physically active. Tips to get it done:
- Set reminders on your phone
- Use plain soda or mineral water for variety
- Add sliced fresh fruit like lemon, lime or berries for flavour
- When you drink- have a large glass- this also helps strengthen the pelvic floor muscles!
- Red and processed meat- excess consumption increases risk of bowel cancer. Limit to 3 small serves per week.
- Alcohol- also increases risk of bowel cancer. Gold standard recommendations are no more than 2 standard drinks per day and 2 alcohol free days per week.
The ‘sexy’ stuff….
- Probiotics- good bacteria in our gut that improve digestion, immune health, bowel function, mental health and more. More research is needed to determine what types of probiotic supplements are best for different medical conditions/health benefits however some foods contain probiotics and can be included in a balanced diet:
- Sauerkraut, kimichi, yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, miso, kombucha.
- Prebiotics- fibre that feeds the good bacteria and help them grow. Again, more research is needed for supplements but we can consume prebiotics regularly from:
- Legumes, rye, oats, and many fruit and vegetables.
If you suffer from any bowel disturbances such as diarrhoea, constipation, IBS, IBD, diverticular disease, coeliac disease, bowel cancer etc the above information may not be appropriate. Please book an appointment with an Eat Smart dietitian to find out how to keep your bowels as healthy and as ‘sexy’ as possible!