We know that gut health is crucial for keeping your weight down, feeling clear-headed and, of course, avoiding digestive problems. But did you know that several of your daily habits could be harming your gut bacteria? Read on to discover the habits that need to stop.
Drinking spirits is bad for your gut
Sad news for vodka lovers, it seems that drinking spirits is bad for gut health, according to the British Gut Project. Meanwhile, red wine is actively good for your tummy, thanks to its polyphenols that feed the microbiome, and they haven’t worked out the effects of beer yet.
(But then again, there are other health benefits to drinking gin)
Mouthwash can damage gut bacteria
Sometimes with health stories it feels like you can’t do right for doing wrong! Having been told by dentists for decades that anti-bacterial mouthwash is the best thing for our teeth and gums, scientists are now speculating that commercial mouthwashes might damage our natural oral bacteria, and negatively influence our gut too. The best thing for keeping your mouth clean and fresh is rinsing with salt water, or drinking green tea.
Stop chewing gum and help your tummy
When you chew gum your body starts to expect a meal, and your stomach will produce acid. Of course – unless you mistakenly swallow it, which we certainly don’t recommend – there’s then nothing reaching the stomach so the acid has nothing to digest, and it can harm gut bacteria.
Gum chewing can also cause you to swallow excess air, adding to bloating and IBS symptoms, so all-round it’s worth ditching it for the sake of your stomach.
Sore stomach? Don’t snack last thing at night
The night-time is important for your tummy to catch up on its admin! A long break between meals gives your digestive tract time to regenerate, so eating late at night or having a midnight snack can be disruptive.
Don’t keep eating the same meals if you want a happy gut
Your gut’s microbiome thrives on a wide range of prebiotic and probiotic foods, as well as plenty of fibre. A lack of diversity could make your tummy more susceptible to infection or illness, so mix things up, especially where fruit and veg are concerned.
- Discover the best prebiotic foods
Don’t sit still all day – it’s bad for your stomach
It’s hard to remember to keep moving if you have a desk job, but regular movement is crucial to a healthy gut. Studies have shown that professional rugby players have a more diverse gut flora and double the number of bacterial families when compared to similar demographics, proving that regular sport is fab news for the gut.
Lack of sleep can damage the gut
We already know that sleep is important for everything from helping concentration to keeping your weight down, but did you know it’s also essential as far as your gut is concerned? Research has revealed that your gut follows a circadian rhythm, just like the rest of your body, and disrupted sleep over two or more nights increased the amount of bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Discover more about how your gut health affects your weight