Gut health seems to have become a bit of a trendy topic these days. But it’s a trend I can definitely get behind. From the foods we eat, to managing our stress levels, there are so many ways to support our gut – and as you’ll see, it’s well worth the effort!
Here are a few simple but super impactful practices you can start incorporating to make sure you’re not getting bogged down by sluggish digestion!
PACK IN THE GUT FRIENDLY FOODS
Prebiotics are food for those gut healthy Probiotics. The good bacteria we want thriving in our gut. Bacteria are living organisms and need good nutrition too! So what foods have prebiotics? Among the best prebiotic foods, California Prunes. AS far as the nutritional value of prunes, they provide 3g of gut healthy fiber per serving and on top of that, are packed with powerful antioxidants and support bone health (with recent research even showing an ability to slow bone loss in post-menopausal women)
This easy on the go snack is one of my fave ways to enjoy them!
Sweet & Salty Prune Trail Mix
3-5 California Prunes , whole or chopped
2 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
1-2 Tbsp dark chocolate chips
2 Tbsp pecans or walnuts (if you’ve got the time, toast them in some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cayenne – so good!)
This snack mix is also an awesome post workout snack so you can tackle two birds with one stone!
Try these One Bowl Breakfast Power Cookies or this Deconstructed Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Prune Crumble for other digestive friendly recipes!
As mentioned above, probiotics are good bacteria that live in your intestines and have been linked to everything from improved digestion and absorption of nutrients, better immune function, decreased inflammation, and even improved mood and brain health.
I’m all about a foods first approach, so including probiotic foods is a great start. If you’re looking to treat or manage a certain condition, then a supplement is likely what you’re looking for
- Probiotic Foods:
- Kimchi, sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables
Probiotic Supplement Benefits:
In some cases you may want to consider a probiotic dietary supplement
- Look for a supplement with at least 10 billion cfus per dose
- Check out probioticchart.ca to make sure your supplement has the research to back it up! They are not all created equal and it’s important to have a supplement with living cultures
MAKE SURE TO HYDRATE
As we’ve talked about, fiber is key for smooth and healthy digestion. But too much fiber, without fluid can actually have the opposite effect, and plug you up even more. So staying hydrated is key to the whole equation
Water is a great first choice to stay hydrated but there are other options to keep things interesting! Sip on a Green Juice or enjoy a gut loving smoothie like this onePrint
This smoothie is the perfect quick & easy breakfast or snack. Packed with fiber and protein it is great for digestion, energy, blood sugar balance, and it tasted delicious!
- ¾ cup dark cherries, frozen
- 5 California Prunes
- ½ cup unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk (right now I’m loving creamy cashew)
- ½ cup 0-2%plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp cacao
- Pinch of coarse salt
- Blend until smooth, 30-60 seconds.
- Pour into ice cube trays (approximately 1 ice cube tray per smoothie).
- Freeze overnight. Remove from trays and store in a ziplock bag to pull out as you need!
Muffin tins are another great option to freeze into little pucks. I find they’re actually more efficient for larger batches but you’ll just want to consider what you’ll be drinking your smoothie in later (frozen pucks won’t fit into a water bottle whereas the cubes will, but if just drinking in a cup, should be fine!)
- Category: Beverages
- Method: Blended
- Serving Size: 1
Keywords: Smoothie, Freezer Meal, Quick Breakast
Pro Tip: Chew your liquids – like smoothies! Chewing your food activates digestive enzymes in your mouth to prepare your stomach for absorption!
MOVE YOUR BODY
It’s hard to argue the benefits of moving your body, and improved digestion is no exception! Along with helping to manage stress, moving our bodies also helps to keep things moving along smoothly thanks to gravity, and giving our digestive tract a chance to twist and move which naturally aids digestion.
The key here is to find something you like! Try a yoga class, get outside for a run or a hike, or try something new like Barre or a Spin Class. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to stick to it and be consistent, and you will reap the rewards in more ways than one!
Have you ever found yourself running to the bathroom before a big test or interview? Or a total lack of appetite when you’re feeling anxious? It’s not all in your head. Our brain and our gut are intimately connected and in constant communication via nerves, hormones and our immune system.
What we think and feel can literally trigger physical symptoms in the gut. Not only can your gut health impact your mood and brain function, but thoughts and emotions (including stress, anxiety, and depression) can also impact the way you digest.
A bit of a chicken or the egg situation, but all the more reason to take care of both.
Here are some of my favorite ways to calm my nerves
- Practice mindfulness
- Take a warm bath
- Avoid Screens 1-2 hours before bed
- No looking at my phone for at least an hour upon waking (jumping into your inbox or social media, does not usually a relaxing morning make!)
I hope you found this helpful! I’d love to hear your favorite ways to support good digestions and a health gut! Let me know in the comments below and if you try out any of these recipes, be sure to tag me @lindsaypleskot over on Instagram with #makefoodfeelgood!
Thank you California Prune Board for sponsoring this healthy post! I only partner with brands I truly love and use in my day to day and am grateful for their support to keep lindsaypleskot.com running!