I often refer to the gut as being at the centre of overall good health. Our gastrointestinal tract runs right through the core of the body and has functions way beyond simply digesting our food. Most of us have at some time or another suffered from some sort of digestive problem, whether it be simple indigestion from eating too much at Christmas lunch, to more chronic problems such as heartburn or irritable bowel syndrome, to serious diseases including bowel cancer. If you’ve suffered from any of these things you know how digestive problems have a knock on effect on your overall health and wellbeing. When your gut is not working as it should your energy levels are affected, your mood is affected, your ability to concentrate is affected and you cannot participate in your daily life as you should.
So what can we do to ensure we have the best chance of optimal digestive health? The research shows three clear areas:
- Follow a healthy gut-friendly diet. This means a good intake of all three types of fibre soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. These all play slightly different roles in gut health, but collectively fibre helps to keep you regular, promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria and keep ‘bad’ bacteria at bay, and carries many harmful substances including carcinogens out of the body.
- Exercise and daily activity. By moving your body you actually help to stimulate the gut to contract. This is of crucial importance in maintaining a healthy gut and avoiding constipation.
- Drink plenty of water. Fibre in the gut absorbs water, putting pressure on the gut walls and in turn stimulating the gut to contract and move intestinal contents along. We need to therefore drink plenty of water otherwise you risk getting blocked up. Plenty of water helps to keep the gut happy and your body well hydrated and working as it should.
The Goodness Superfoods range of foods are designed specifically with digestive health in mind. They all contain high levels of fibre, are minimally processed and look to minimise added sugar and salt. The breakfast cereal and porridge ranges incorporate the CSIRO developed supergrain BARLEYmax™. This is not only super high in fibre, but has especially high levels of resistant starch, often low in Australian diets. Resistant starch is gold start fuel to the ‘good’ bacteria in your bowel, promoting their growth. These products make an ideal breakfast choice.
There are also Wholegrain Barley Wraps, also made using BARLEYmax™. They are soft and easy to eat, and just one wrap provides about a third of your daily fibre needs!
Finally you might like to try the latest product in the Goodness Superfoods range, Freekeh. This is wheat that is harvested while still young and green. It then goes through a roasting process to give the end product. Freekeh has been eaten in the Middle East for many centuries but may be new to you here in Australia, but it is now grown and produced here. I love its nutty taste and nutritionally it’s superior to other grains with higher protein, iron, magnesium and many other nutrients. It’s also low GI so for those of you managing blood sugar levels it’s a terrific choice.