Eating your way to better health

The cold and dark winter weather often has us reaching for home comforts. Is there anything better than indulging ourselves in a warming, homecooked meal? We don’t think so! However, these comfort foods can leave us feeling lethargic, mentally unstimulated and a little bit sluggish. Our guide below offers tips and information so you can eat the foods that your gut will love, and will leave you feeling a whole lot better.

Make your gut health your number one priority

Your gut health is the foundation of your general health and wellbeing. The microbiome is a collection of trillions of microorganisms that live in your gut. It helps your body digest food and supports the absorption of nutrients, calories and anti-oxidants from food.

Studies have shown that gut bacteria are linked to obesity, poor immunity, mood and mental health and even cardiovascular health. All in all, to feel a whole lot better, you need to eat with your gut and digestive system in mind to promote a positive mood and mindset, to heighten your immunity and to maintain your general health.

It’s essential to eat in a way that encourage the good flora in your gut to grow. You can achieve this by including a diverse range of high fibre foods in your diet. Sample all the nutritious food the world has to offer, making a conscious effort to avoid eating the same dish or snack multiple times a week.

Fruit, vegetables, nuts, grains, legumes and beyond build a whole, varied and fibre-rich diet.

Fermented foods, such as kimchi, kombucha and kefir, and live yoghurt have been proven to contain bacteria that promote positive mental wellbeing. Another way to improve your microbiome is to take pre- and pro-biotic supplements to increase certain strains of bacteria, while the overall focus should be on increasing the diversity.

You can learn more about the microbiome, its importance, and how it can be nurtured in this BBC Sounds podcast episode – All Hail Kale – Sad Mouse.

Looking for a high-fibre, gut-friendly breakfast? Shop the Lizi’s range.

Hydrate. Then rehydrate again

The body is composed of around 60% water. In more detail, the brain is 85% water, muscles 75%, blood 83% and bones 22%. The function of fluid in the body includes transportation, circulation, digestion and homeostasis, leading to improved brain function, clear skin, bright eyes, improved concentration and higher energy levels.

Staying hydrated also contributes to the health of our gut, by providing liquid required for soluble fibre, which helps the body pass waste products.

The recommended amount of water to drink is between 2-3 litres a day, perhaps more if you are exercising, unwell, or in high temperatures. Always have a bottle with you to encourage you to drink more water.

Choose added-benefit foods

Like Lizi’s Digestive Health Granola! This has been developed to provide you with a good portion of fibre, this wholegrain cereal is bursting with one billion gut-friendly cultures per serving to keep your tummy happy and your mind healthy. Pair it with live yogurt and top it with a handful of berries to really start your day right and keep your gut in tip-top shape.

Get to know leafy greens

Kale, spinach, broccoli, greens of the collard, dandelion and mustard variety – these should be absolute staples in any diet! A good source of vitamins A, C, K, iron, calcium, phytonutrients and the ever-important fibre, dark leafy vegetables delicious, versatile foods that really pack a nutritious punch.

Further to this, these greens deliver complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat; macronutrients that provide energy and keep us feeling fuller for longer. Research has shown that leafy green vegetables can slow cognitive decline and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Curb sugar

Not only does sugar wreak havoc on your teeth and cause blood sugar to skyrocket before an energy slump, it can also cause inflammation and lower the body’s immunity.

Laying off the sugar keeps our blood glucose, energy and mood stable.

Let’s look at inflammation more closely. Inflammation can affect the skin, creating an environment where bacteria thrive, causing conditions such as eczema and acne, but it can also affect collagen and elastin, aging the skin.

The surge of insulin that is released once we eat sugar can inflame artery walls over time, causing them to become stiff and thick, restricting blood flow that can lead to cardiovascular disease. The impact on the pancreas of pumping out insulin is that it becomes overworked, and type 2 diabetes becomes a risk.

We’ve got some great low-sugar granola options! Browse our range here.

Herbal teas and alternative hot drinks

High-caffeine and high-sugar hot drinks can leave you feeling dehydrated and lethargic after the initial high. And while we wouldn’t expect you to completely abstain from your beloved frothy cappuccino or syrup-infused latte, it would be great if you introduced some hot drinks that offer some added wellbeing benefits, too.

Herbal teas contain antioxidants and vitamins, and withhold the caffeine hit. Elderberry, ginger, lemon, hibiscus and chai offer a warm comfort that don’t leave us jittery.

Mushroom coffee still contains caffeine but the nutrients from the mushrooms offset the downsides. Usually made from more than one type of mushroom and packed full of antioxidants, mushroom coffee continues to grow in popularity. 

Another alternative, golden ‘mylk’, or turmeric latte, is made by combining turmeric with ginger, cinnamon and black pepper, before being mixed with a plant-based milk. With roots in ancient India, this Ayurvedic beverage contains potent anti-inflammatory properties thanks to turmeric’s bioactive compound, curcumin. 

Why not try an alternative hot drink with your next bowl of Lizi’s, and start your day with some added healthy benefits?

Apple Cider Vinegar

A juice made from the fermentation of apples; apple cider vinegar is incredibly popular with those that are passionate about natural health. The super healthy part of ACV is the ‘mother’.

The ‘mother’ sounds (and looks) slightly ominous, often described as a murky sediment that settles at the bottom of the bottle.  But appearances can be deceiving, and the ‘mother’ is a powerhouse of gut-healthy enzymes and bacteria.

ACV inhibits the growth of bacteria, as well as works to lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

To take apple cider vinegar, dilute into a glass of warm water in the morning, this temperate of the water will also activate and ‘kick-start’ the digestive system for the day.

Whilst diet alone can’t optimise your health, it’s certainly a great place to start. We need to give our bodies the energy and mental focus to exercise and power on throughout the day, whatever it might hold. Do you have any other tips to improve health and digestion? Let us know on our social channels.

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