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How to get your Gut healthy with Dr Venita Patel

25 June, 2018

The benefits of bacteria in your gut - More ways to improve your gut health
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Hello, my name is Dr Venita Patel, and I’m a medical doctor, but also, I’m a nutritional therapist.

I have a real interest on how nutrition affects everybody’s health. So, my health resolution for this year is to really increase the number and variety of plants that I eat as in vegetables and fruits which has a direct impact on gut health.

So just to introduce what gut health is – we know now that we have trillions of bacteria which re part of us and they reside in our gut and they have really important roles which relate to health.

What we now know is that the greater the number and variety of bacteria that we have in our gut the greater our health is. And so, there are certain ways we can ensure this will happen.

I have a real interest on how nutrition affects everybody’s health. So, my health resolution for this year is to really increase the number and variety of plants that I eat as in vegetables and fruits which has a direct impact on gut health.

So just to introduce what gut health is – we know now that we have trillions of bacteria which re part of us and they reside in our gut and they have really important roles which relate to health.

What we now know is that the greater the number and variety of bacteria that we have in our gut the greater our health is. And so, there are certain ways we can ensure this will happen.

What doctors already know is that we need to have a regular bowel movement and a healthy bowel movement, and so there are certain ways which we can help that through our day, and that’s what I’m going to talk about.

So for my patients, I’ve come up with 4Fs for a good gut health, and it’s an easy way to remember what to do.

And the first F is fluid. So important for a regular bowel movement. As I’m sure you know, the best fluid to drink is water.

And we need to drink at least 8 to 9 glasses a day, unless you are doing exercise or if you’re in a very warm environment in which case you should increase that at least to 10 or 11.

A lot of people say that they don’t like to drink water, because it’s boring, it does taste of anything.

So what I suggest is – try putting some fruit in it, or put some cucumber in it, or put some mint in it. Otherwise have some herbal teas.

So, the next F is fibre, which is so important to keep our guts healthy, cause it feeds our gut bacteria.

And the more fibre we eat the better our gut bacteria profile is. So, in our day to day diet, where can we get good sources of fibre?

So the first source is from vegetables. By increasing the variety, we have good amount of fibre coming in from them.

Now, I just wanted to highlight some vegetables that are really useful for gut health, because they include probiotic that feeds our gut bacteria.

So, we should include them daily: onions, garlic and leaks.

This follows really nicely to the third F which is Five to seven a day. And I’m talking about variety of vegetables, so the more variety of vegetables we have – we know this links directly to the variety of bacteria we have.

So, the last F that I want to talk about is fermented foods.

And you may have seen it highlighted recently, because we are really understanding how important they are for our guts.

So, what I will do is to show you some examples of fermented foods which I got from my cupboard and my fridge, and I’ll explain exactly why there good for us.

First, I want to show you kimchi, which is essentially pickled cabbage and carrot with some added spices.

And you would have it as a side dish or to complement your food, but its full of healthy bacteria.

Another fantastic food is miso, which is essentially soya beans that’ve been fermented. You get it as either as a paste or in this case a dried sachet and you simply add some hot water to make really delicious soup.

Another fermented drink of which you may have heard of is kefir which is essentially a yoghurt drink but is teamed with healthy bacteria and it is now available really widely, so you can get in the most shops.

Apart from these fermented foods, you may have come across something called sauerkraut, which is also pickled cabbage, but they don’t use many spices and its used traditionally in lots of eastern European countries, so you can get it quite cheaply.

As well as talking about 4 Fs fluid, fibre, five to seven a day and fermented foods, I also talked about fitness and exercise, because we’ve seen lots of studies showing it improves your gut health.,

There are so many ways in which exercise help our overall health, but just walking itself gets our abdominal muscles to work to help move everything through our guts. So just walking is fantastic.

There is one more aspect of gut health which I emphasize with my patients, and that is to eat in a completely relaxed manner if possible and to remember to chew your food really well. Two things that really help digestion.

So those are some simple but achievable ways to help your gut health, improve your microbiome which are the bacteria, and in turn you will see an overall improvement in your health.

Topics: Health and Wellbeing, Diet & Nutrition, expert health advice