Keen to improve your gut health and digestion? Discover gut-friendly recipes and know 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 good digestive health, including plenty of probiotic and prebiotic ingredients to help boost good gut bacteria, such as live bio-yogurt. We've paid attention to the preparation methods for many of our recipes to allow you to get the most out of them, such as pre-soaking oats to increase the amount of beneficial resistant starch in your breakfast, as well as creating a delicious creamy texture to porridge. Sign up today to receive your free online access to the plan.
We asked nutritional therapist, Kerry Torrens, 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.
Three 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 smart phones 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 butternut porridge in our Healthy Diet Plan is perfect – rich in resistant starch (from the oats) which feeds the beneficial gut bacteria. It’s finished with a generous helping of bio-yogurt for an instant probiotic start to your day.
3. Eat lighter at night
If you're eating late, a soup or broth is a wise option, helping you to drift off to sleep without feeling uncomfortably full or bloated. Soup also helps support hydration levels, and it's easy to find recipes that are full of nourishment and fibre. We’ve included carrots in our warming soup – they’re an easily digested source of carotenoids, which may help maintain healthy linings in your digestive tract.
Enjoyed this? Get more health tips...
All health content from BBC Good Food 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 health care 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 health care provider.