First off, we hope that all of our wonderful customers are keeping well, not going too crazy at home, and in good health. These are unprecedented times, in which it’s even more imperative than ever to look after our health, because ultimately it’s going to come down to the strength of each of our individual immune systems if we do succumb to a virus infection! So rather than let that be a scary thought, (there is quite enough fear around at the moment, you only have to turn on the news or social media), we thought that we’d focus this blog post on the positive actions that you can take today that will positively impact your gut health and, therefore, the health of your immune system.
1. It’s not all about food
Diet is important, but stress and mindset are absolutely crucial, and we’re leading with this point because, given the current climate, more of us are experiencing stress and anxiety than ever before. Studies now show that stress adversely affects the gut microbiome1 and, as we know, 70% of our immune cells are located in the gut and it’s this staggering statistic that warrants so much attention being paid to the topic of gut health. There are lots of food and dietary tips we can give you relating to good gut health, but our number one is to remain calm where possible. That being said, it might be worth looking into practices or routines that can keep you grounded at this time. Here are some of our favourites:
- Journaling before bed is a great way to brain dump all your worries and fears out onto a page, perhaps with a few solutions written down too, so that you can have a more restful night’s sleep.
- Morning movement outdoors. It’s clearly hard to make the most of the great outdoors at the moment with the increased restrictions, but doing so in the morning is the best way to optimise your light exposure to support your circadian rhythm. It’s not just our sleep schedule that runs on a circadian rhythm, our gut does too. So, daylight first thing equals better gut health, a boost in mood and a reduction in stress.
- Get into a routine. We feel like this past few weeks of isolation / working from home has been a teething period, but now it’s time to hunker down. Hopefully by now you’ve set up your workspace and you can put in place some daily boundaries and routines to help you stay sane. That might be 20 mins of yoga first thing, followed by your morning coffee, a slow breakfast, walk in the park and then heading to your desk. Whatever it is, stick to it each day and it will help you hold on to a sense of normality - remember, the body likes routine.
2. No sugar!!!
We know, comfort eating is a real issue right now but sugar really is your gut’s worst enemy. Consuming too many refined carbohydrates or simple sugars has been shown to shift the bacterial population in the gut in favour of the ‘bad’ strains2. Not only that, but sugar affects the way that your immune system reacts to a viral infection - no surprises here; it worsens the body’s defenses, not improves them. So please, if you can, avoid all refined sugar for now. Luckily you can still shop CRU8’s range of low sugar, keto friendly treats, snacks, breads and more.
3. Consider a probiotic
Usually, our advice would be that probiotics aren’t necessary for the vast majority of people eating a broad and varied diet including items containing beneficial gut bacteria. However, in times like these, we think it can’t help to give the good guys in your gut a little helping hand. If you can’t get anything online or in a health-food shop, then fermenting foods at home or buying things like sauerkraut and kimchi is your best bet. All you need to make a delicious sauerkraut is a cabbage and some salt - easy!
4. Don’t eat on repeat
The antithesis of the panic eating we’re all doing right now, but periods of fasting are really beneficial for your gut health and have been shown to help restore a normal balance in gut microbes3. We haven’t evolved to eat consistently throughout the day, and in fact doing so makes us more susceptible to Type Two Diabetes later on in life due to the constant need for insulin secretion to stabilise blood sugar levels. As hunter gatherers we would have gone through periods of feasting and fasting regularly, and our physiology is wired for the same. We all fast naturally overnight, but many of us struggle to leave as much as 3 hours between meals. Try aiming for at least 3, and optimally 4 hours between meals to allow your digestive system to fully process your last meal and to rest. Doing so allows other systems in the body to switch on, like cellular detoxification and clean up.
5. Consider going grain-free
It’s not the case for all of us, but increasingly grains are proving to be quite pro-inflammatory in the diet and having an adverse effect on our gut health. They are, relatively speaking, also quite a new invention in terms of modern agriculture, and so overwhelming our bodies with processed grains at every single meal (toast, pasta, rice etc) can be overwhelming for some. Not only that but non-organic grains are high in glyphosate (a chemical found in pesticides) - not something you want hanging around in your body. Try using this quarantine period as your opportunity to try a few different approaches to your diet, and remember, if you want to go grain free then Cru8 is here to support you.
Wishing you health and happiness as ever!