Trust your gut. Cambridge University Scientist and creator of holistic beauty brand Lumity, Dr Sara Palmer Hussey, talks all things gut health.
Why is gut health important?
There are 10 times as many microorganisms in your gut as there are cells in your body, so this population is of supreme importance to your overall health. Gut health also impacts a lot more than mere digestion – a healthy gut bolsters your immune system and your mental health (via the gut-brain axis) to mention just two benefits. It is estimated that 90 per cent of the body’s serotonin (the feel-good hormone) is made in the gut, so it is easy to understand how better gut health can uplift your mood. A healthy gut is one that efficiently absorbs nutrients from the food we eat, another vital step in the body’s overall health.
Top tips for a healthy gut:
My number one tip for better gut health is to rest it. I believe that optimum health is a result of respecting the natural cycles of the body and its need for balance. Like all parts of the body, the gut needs time to repair and regenerate, which it cannot do while in active digestion mode. If we can keep our eating within a 12-hour window, the gut has 12 hours a day to repair and prepare for another round of digestion.
“My number one tip for better gut health is to rest your gut. I believe that optimum health is a result of respecting the natural cycles of the body and its need for balance.”
Secondly, gut health is greatly impacted by stress (via the gut-brain axis). Stress is often an unavoidable part of life, but, in order to counterbalance its harmful effects, we need to build in some form of daily stress-busting activity. This could be yoga, meditation, a relaxing bath or curling up with a book, but anything that makes you laugh is great too and can help to dilute the negative effects of stress on your gut health.
Thirdly, gut health is affected by exercise. Studies have shown that athletes have significantly greater microbiome diversity than non-athletes. A sedentary lifestyle is bad for gut health, so we should try to integrate some activity into our daily life.
Other lifestyle factors that damage gut health are smoking, environmental pollution and pharmaceutical drugs, in particular antibiotics. Balance the influence of any of these by doing things which are good for your gut health: get sufficient rest, exercise, eat a varied diet, including lots of prebiotics (fibre from fruit and vegetables), take a supplement that is good for your gut health (turmeric and glutamine are two great nutrients for gut health), reduce stress and do more of what makes you happy.
When I created Lumity supplements I wanted to target a range of issues, including gut health. Lumity harnesses the regenerative qualities of sleep. During sleep, the gut has the time to repair, heal and optimise its function. Lumity effectively supports this vital key to gut health.
Lumity also contains essential nutrients for optimum gut health, in particular glutamine and turmeric. Glutamine is an essential nutrient for gut health. A deficiency of glutamine leads to a deterioration of the gut wall, which allows bacteria and toxins to leak out into the circulation. Meanwhile, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory.
Dr. Sara Palmer Hussey is a Cambridge University Scientist and creator of holistic beauty brand Lumity.