A doctor has revealed the three little-known ways your gut is impacting your overall health, from your skin to your brain and even your hormones – and what you can do to fix any imbalances today.
Leading Harley Street dietitian and King’s College research fellow Dr Megan Rossi, from Queensland, said that improving your gut health can be done in as little as five minutes when you know how.
But while you might think it’s just about your digestion, it’s vitally important to remember that ‘those gut microbes are linked to the health of pretty much every other organ in the body’.
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A doctor has revealed the three little-known ways your gut is impacting your overall health, from your skin to your brain and even your hormones (Dr Megan Rossi pictured)
The first way in which your gut and what you put into it impacts your overall health is through your skin, and you can improve gut-skin communication through drinking green tea (pictured)
1. YOUR SKIN
The first way in which your gut and what you put into it impacts your overall health is through your skin.
‘Most of our gut-skin communication happens through the immune system – and an “unbalanced” gut microbiome is thought to trigger inflammation,’ Dr Rossi posted on Instagram.
This can lead to aggravating many skin conditions like eczema, redness and ageing skin – so it makes sense you may want to tweak your diet if you think it’s contributing to any of these.
‘My top tip here is to enjoy some green tea, dark chocolate, tomatoes and citrus fruits for that gut-skin glow,’ Dr Rossi said.
She tries to get at least one of these in per day, and said they work wonders at regenerating collagen in the skin and making you more dewy and plumped.
Often called your ‘second brain’, researchers have found that what you put into your stomach affects how you think and feel, Dr Rossi (pictured) said
2. YOUR BRAIN
The second way in which your gut health affects your overall health is through your brain.
Often called your ‘second brain’, researchers have found that what you put into your stomach affects how you think and feel.
Over the years, they have found that eating a Mediterranean-style diet packed full of fruits and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of anxiety and depression.
‘My top tip to improve both your gut health and your brain health is to fall in love with extra Virgin olive oil and add some omega-3 foods to your meals like walnuts and fish,’ Dr Rossi said.
She recommends eating oily fish like salmon, trout or sardines a couple of times each week, as doing this will boost your brain capacity and mood.
The doctor’s top tip with your hormones is to make sure you’re getting plenty of fibre (pictured), ideally through foods like edamame (soy) beans, cinnamon and almonds
3. YOUR HORMONES
Finally, Dr Rossi said your gut health hugely impacts your hormonal health.
‘Ever feel like you’re on a hormonal rollercoaster?’ she said. ‘Try keeping your gut microbiome on side.’
Dr Rossi explained that one of the roles of your gut is to ‘make and regulate our hormones’, and this is often called the ‘gut-hormone axis’.
‘One study of over 17,000 menopausal women found that those eating more fibre had a 19 per cent reduction in hot flushes, so it seems feeding your microbes with plenty of fibre can help.’
The doctor’s top tip here is to make sure you’re getting plenty of fibre, ideally through foods like edamame (soy) beans, cinnamon and almonds.
Previously, Dr Megan Rossi shared the three biggest myths surrounding gut health that people believe to be true.
Three simple things to improve your gut health revealed
1. Eat 30 different plant-based foods each week.
2. Move and exercise as much as possible to regulate your bowel movements and increase the diversity of your gut microbes.
3. Avoid unnecessary medications and smoking, as there is growing research to suggest these can impact our gut microbes.
Dr Rossi said one of the biggest myths is that people often think they have to follow a restrictive diet to be healthy.
‘So many people think they need to eat a certain way, but looking after your gut health is all about inclusivity, moderation and plant-based diversity,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Dr Rossi recommends we try to eat 30 different types of plant-based foods each week as these contain ‘different fibres and chemicals that feed the different bacteria in your gut’.
‘From wholegrains to vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds and nuts, research has shown that those who hit 30 have a more diverse range of gut microbes than others,’ Dr Rossi said.
‘This is a marker of good gut health and has also been linked to better long-term health.’
The second myth the expert is keen to bust is that cutting carbohydrates will help your stomach:
‘Carbs have been unfairly stigmatised when it comes to our health, but they are not to be feared,’ Dr Rossi said.
‘Cutting carbs means you also cut important types of fibre, and this can have a negative impact on your gut bacteria, as fibre is their favourite food and nourishes our gut microbes.’
The third thing the ‘Gut Health Doctor’ said she often hears is that sucrose (or sugar) is bad for you gut.
‘Actually, sugar is absorbed higher up your intestine, so it doesn’t reach your lower intestine where the majority of microbes are housed,’ she said.
‘This means you certainly shouldn’t cut out fruit because of its sucrose content.’
Dr Rossi is the author of the book Eat Yourself Healthy, An Easy-to-Digest Guide to Health and Happiness from the Inside Out.
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