Taking care of your gut has become all the rage due to the surge of trendy foods, beverages, and supplements that claim to promote gut health (think fermented foods, kombucha and probiotics). But why is gut health important, and what can be done to improve it?
The gut is a gateway to the rest of the body, but it plays more than just a supporting role in health and wellbeing by digesting food – it is vital for keeping other body systems functioning optimally, which is why it needs to be looked after. Despite this, at least 50% of Australians experience gut health problems with symptoms such as bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain and excessive fullness, according to the CSIRO report Gut Health and Weight Loss.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry, you don’t need to follow the latest (and often expensive) food and drink trends to improve your gut health. All you need to do is follow a high quality diet filled with high protein, low GI and high fibre foods.
How does low GI fit into this?
Firstly, a low GI diet can help maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. The human gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including both beneficial and harmful bacteria. Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates and sugar can feed the growth of harmful bacteria, leading to an imbalance in the gut microbiome. On the other hand, a low GI diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and other fibre-rich foods can help promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and keep harmful bacteria in check.
Let’s talk fibre.
High fibre foods such as whole grains and fruits are also low GI and known to promote regular bowel movements. This can help prevent constipation and other digestive issues. Resistant starch, a type of insoluble fibre with a low glycemic index is prized for its ability to nourish the healthy bacteria in the gut. This can be found in cooked and cooled potatoes such as Carisma potatoes.
A low GI diet also promotes overall digestive health. By choosing foods less likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels, you can help regulate the release of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body process glucose, but when it is released in large amounts, it can lead to inflammation and other health problems. By maintaining a steady release of insulin, a low GI diet can help support the body’s natural digestive processes and reduce the risk of digestive issues.
Promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, reducing inflammation, regulating bowel movements and promoting overall digestive health through a low GI diet can help prevent a variety of gut-related health problems and support the health of your gut to improve your overall well being.