Many people don’t realise that having good digestive health isn’t just about making sure you’re eating the right foods. Of course ensuring your engine has the right fuel is vitally important, but if you don’t look after it correctly then you could find yourself still struggling with digestive problems.

For instance, having a healthy lunch is only so good if you bolt it down, eating on the go, rushing from one appointment to another. Taking time over a meal, eating slowly, sees chewing releasing enzymes which kick start digestion. Chewing of course helps break down food into more manageable chunks and of course when bolting down food you could fall foul of taking lots of air with every mouthful leading to uncomfortable wind.

So how can you get a better gut lifestyle – here are just five tips to get you started:

  • Get to bed! Not only does your body feel sluggish when it doesn’t get enough sleep but your bowel function can be affected too. It can also affect your appetite and mental function. And if you struggle with insomnia avoid late night fatty foods, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Eat regularly and moderately. Make time for breakfast every day as the first meal of the day wakes up the gut and stimulates a bowel movement.
  • No smoking – smoking doesn’t just affect the lungs but also the gut. It can diminish the sense of taste and can increase the likelihood of Crohn’s Disease, heartburn, peptic ulcers and cancers of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach and pancreas.
  • Relax. In the short term being stressed can cause indigestion but can also aggravate existing gut complaints such as IBS.
  • Reduce antibiotic usage. Try to take antibiotics only when they are really necessary. They can disturb the balance of the gut flora and cause digestive disturbances so don’t nag your doctor for them.