Keen to improve your gut health and digestion? Discover gut-friendly recipes and find the best foods to eat using BBC Good Food's Healthy Diet Plans.
If you suffer from common digestive complaints such as bloating or indigestion, you'll know that what you eat – and when you eat it – can make a big difference to how you feel. While it's always worth visiting your GP to rule out any medical conditions, paying close attention to your diet and lifestyle may help to ease your symptoms naturally.
Recent research into gut health has rapidly expanded our understanding of the important role of the digestive system in our overall well-being. Within our guts is a complex ecosystem of microbes called the microbiome, and studies have shown that what we eat and drink can hugely affect the diversity and population of the microbiome. You can read more about the research behind this in our guide to good gut health.
Our Healthy Diet Plans are designed to help promote digestive health, including plenty of probiotic and prebiotic ingredients to help boost good gut bacteria. If you haven't already, sign up today to receive free online access to the plan.
We asked nutritionist Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT for her three top tips to improve your digestion, plus how the recipes from our latest Healthy Diet Plan can help you achieve your goal.
3 tips to improve your digestion
1. Eat mindfully
Give your food the time and attention it deserves. Make a rule never to eat on the go, or when your attention is directed elsewhere. Take the time to notice the textures and flavours of your food and chew it properly – the first step in digestion. Being distracted by TV, laptops or smartphones means that you're more likely to absent-mindedly snack. Read more about how to eat mindfully.
2. Eat probiotics and prebiotics
Choose wisely, focusing on foods that supply good gut bacteria (probiotics) as well as the fuel these bacteria need to thrive (prebiotics). The creamy porridge in our Healthy Diet Plan is perfect – rich in resistant starch (from the oats) which feeds the beneficial gut bacteria. We've used a live culture coconut yogurt for a tasty probiotic start to your day.
3. Eat lightly at night
If you're eating late, a lighter dinner can help to satiate hunger without making you feel uncomfortably full, so you're more likely to drift off to sleep easily. The dinners in our Healthy Diet Plan are light and flavoursome, including tasty cabbage rolls with salad and flavourful salmon with new potatoes (pictured).
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All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other healthcare professional. Any healthy diet plan featured by BBC Good Food is provided as a suggestion of a general balanced diet and should not be relied upon to meet specific dietary requirements. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local healthcare provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.