Our digestive system works as an amazing biological machine. Essentially, it’s a long, highly adapted tube, running from our mouth to exit sphincter. Different sections are adapted for:
- Breakdown of food
- Absorption of nutrients
- Excretion of waste
There are many ways we can support the health of this self-regulating system. This includes self-care methods, including good lifestyle choices and plant-based supplements to support our health. It’s also important to listen to the signals our body gives us, but what signs should we be looking out for?
4 Signs of a Healthy Gut
1. Softness of stool & passing without straining
We’re all different when it comes to frequency of bowel emptying. Normal can be anything from several times per week, up to several times per day.
Taking a fibre supplement is one way to support healthy bowels. Look for ingredients such as:
- Guar gum - supports bowel frequency
- Psyllium husk powder - helps maintain regularity
- Flaxseed flour - is a rich source of fibre (as well as prebiotics and mucilage)
- Rice fibre - can support comfortable motions that pass with ease
- Apple Powder - contains pectin to support healthy transit time
Drinking enough water is also essential, especially when taking a fibre supplement. Aim for at least 2 litres of water daily.
2. A happy microbiome community
Regular bowel motions, good mood and immune health can all indicate a happy microbiome.
With a population of over 1 trillion, the microbiome is a community of bacteria that colonize the bowel. Some are friendly, upstanding citizens, like Bifido and Lactobacilli. Whilst others can sometimes develop an ‘attitude problem.’ Achieving balance is key here.
Inulin, from the chicory plant, is a Fructo-oligosaccharide (pronounced ‘frook toe-oli go sack a ride’)
This prebiotic fibre stimulates the growth and activity of Bifido and Lactobacilli.
Slippery Elm, Aloe Vera and Flaxseed are also prebiotics that supports the growth of beneficial probiotic bacteria.
Beware that sugar, alcohol, and stress can lead to dysfunctional microbiome community.
3. A healthy abdomen, without the bloat.
Bloating can be associated with both physical and social discomfort. It’s usually due to excess gas production, or gas that has become ‘trapped’ within the gastrointestinal system.
Peppermint and Ginger are both herbs which can help with discomfort and bloating, and can be used to calm the digestive system. Fibre can also help to manage bloating, by supporting healthy and regular gut motility.
Mindful eating helps you to slow down, recognise hunger cues, notice the effect food has on your senses, and ultimately benefits your digestion. Start by chewing your food thoroughly and eating slowly while sitting down without any distractions such as the TV or your phone. Focus on how the food feels, smells, and any other sensations you may notice, and stop eating once you begin to feel full. The more you're able to practice mindful eating, the easier it will become.
4. A soothed, comfortable tummy
Most would agree, this is probably the most important sign of good digestive health. We all have a special layer of mucus that protects our gut lining from damage. Mucilage (‘me you sill age’) from plants can help support and nourish this gut lining. Some herbs which have this effect include:
- Slippery elm bark powder - helps soothe discomfort, for a soothed throat and tummy
- Aloe Vera powder - contains mucilage to maintain comfort
- Ginger root powder - can help with stomach upsets and discomfort.
It’s important to have any unexplained changes or abnormalities checked by a doctor. It may not be serious, but if it is, early detection can influence outcomes. When in doubt, check it out.
Vitus Pure Plant Sourced Digestive contains the plant-based ingredients including Aloe Vera, Slippery elm and Psyllium Husk to support digestive health, bowel regularity, healthy microflora and a comfortable tummy. Shop online now.