With summer here, one is susceptible to several ailments and seasonal allergies because the heat makes us alter our regular diet and change our appetite. Experts share useful tips on how to keep our gut healthy this season.
Drink sufficient water throughout the day. Good gut also equals good skin, which often gets irritated and dehydrated in summer, something that can be avoided by focusing on a healthy gut.
Chef Ishijyot Surri says, “In order to have a healthy gut, you need to be mindful of what you eat, and see to it that you have a balanced diet with food items that are suited for summer. Avoid processed foods and items that are high on sugar. Stress directly affects your gut and digestion, so meditate or do something to unwind.”
Keeping the gut healthy
The state of our gut may also regulate our mood (through serotonin production), immune response, and predisposition to weight gain. Nutritionist Karishma Chawla suggests the bacteria consumed through diet or with supplements helps support gut health. Foods such as kefir, kimchi, yogurt and sauerkraut are healthy.
Digestive juices help prevent infection. We also have a whole lot of bacteria in the gut that is not necessarily harmful.
Dr Naresh Bhat says, “A large number of infections during summers come from contaminated food and water. In order to avoid them, you should take precautions such as using clean potable water from a water purifier. You can also boil water and cool it before consumption.”
Dr Philip Abraham shares, “One should have meals on time. Keep food light and restrict tea or coffee to two cups or less in a day. Avoid or strictly restrict consumption of carbonated and caffeinated drinks, alcoholic drinks and tobacco in any form.”
Go green if you want your gut to be healthy. There are no foods which can manipulate the gut bacteria to make it healthy. However, by adopting a balanced diet, which includes carbohydrates, fats and proteins in an appropriate proportion, will ensure a healthy gut.
Dr Amit Mayeo says, “Let’s keep this simple, a healthy gut needs good nutrition. Any change in your diet will markedly affect your gut bacteria and cause dysbiosis.” n High-fibre food promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in our body. Consuming fruits, vegetables and legumes stimulate good bacteria such as Bifidobacteria. n Fermentation of foods involves the bacterial or fungal conversion of sugars to healthy acids. Curd and yogurt contain useful lactobacilli and enhance the immune function of the gut. n Choose food and drinks with high levels of polyphenols. They are antioxidants that act as fuel for microbes. Examples are nuts, seeds, berries, olive oil, red wine, coffee and tea.
Dos and don’ts to prevent gut infection
Dos: Gut infection could be increased bacterial infestation or decreased protective bacterial layering. For preventing bacterial, fungal or viral infestation, incorporate good hygiene practices, whereas to increase the level of good bacteria, gut-friendly foods are highly recommended.
Don’ts: Do not overload our system with starch or sugar as they feed the bad bacteria and viruses.
– Dr Siddhant Bhargava
Simple exercises to have a healthy gut
Dr Naresh Bhat says, “The common factor in all gastrointestinal issues is obesity. Hence, exercise and weight reduction are crucial for a healthy gut. Exercising has to become a lifestyle and not a temporary activity for long term benefits.”
There are many microscopic organisms in the gut that are crucial in our overall health and functioning of our body. Low energy levels are due to poor digestion, uneasiness, disrupted bowel movements, stress, weak gut and liver health, and can ultimately lead to obesity. Apart from healthy eating habits, some exercises can help improve your
gut health as well.
Nutritionist Nisha Bajaj lists the following:
- Brisk walk: Brisk walking for around 30 to 40 minutes daily keeps you away from digestive problems and other medical conditions. It stimulates the intestinal contractility, helping with the passage of stool.
- Crunches: Core muscles and muscles in your abdomen strengthen the bowel movement and intestines. They also help in preventing digestive issues like gas or bloating.
- Cycling: A bike ride is also quite effective in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Not only gut health but cycling even helps in reducing the belly fat.
- Yoga: Some yoga poses like the boat pose, child’s pose, standing forward bend, downward and upward do triangle pose and bow pose are great for improving digestion and losing belly fat. They help relax the abdominal muscles and avoid problems like bloating and acidity.
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Recipe to make Kanji, a healthy drink that aids digestion
Preety Tyagi, Health coach
- 10 purple carrots (medium-sized)
- One litre water
- Two tablespoon mustard seeds
- Four teaspoon salt
- Wash, peel and chop the carrots
- Take a glass jar with the volume of two litres, or take a couple of smaller glass jars and divide the quantity accordingly
- Put the chopped carrots in the jar. Add the water as well. In a mortar and pestle, crush and grind the mustard seeds and add to the jar
- Add the salt and stir well using a long wooden ladle
- Cover the jar with a muslin cloth and seal using a ribbon or rubber band
- Let it sit in a warm place for three to four days, stirring once every day with a clean wooden ladle
- Start consuming from the fourth or fifth day
- It should taste nicely sour by that time
- The carrots can be consumed as pickles with meals