Looking after your microbiome doesn’t have to be hard work or super expensive. Sometimes it can be as simple as making one tiny change to feel the benefits. Like getting outside and getting dirty (because soil is full of bacteria!).
With the help of our Specialist Gastro Dietitian, Dr Sammie Gill, we’ve made a list of nine fun activities to get you through the rest of this month (it feels really long, doesn’t it) and give your gut a helping hand. Let’s get started.
1. Switch things up
If you love tucking into your favourite cereal every morning, throw in a handful of dried fruit, nuts or seeds to up the diversity. Big fan of mince-based dishes such as bolognaise, chilli and lasagne? Swap out half the mince for a can of lentils or mixed beans next time. Smother your toast in butter if you want to, but why not top with nut butter and berries as well? Or, enjoy a slice of Deliciously Ella's Coconut Custard Toast.
2. Get outside and get dirty
We know that being outside is good, not just for your mental health but also your gut. Soil exposes you to a mix of different bacteria and helps diversify your microbiome (that’s a good thing). Whether that means tending to your garden, walking a nature trail, or going on a bug hunt in the garden with your kids, carve out some time to explore the great outdoors.
3. Plant something
While we’re on the subject of soil and getting dirty, we love the idea of planting a seed and watch it grow. From an indoor potted herb garden, to planting some carrots outside, to having more houseplants around your home, you’ll boost your ‘biome and hopefully help reduce stress levels.
4. Try a food you haven’t tried before.
Take a look through this list of plant-based foods and pick one or two you might not have tried before and see if you can add them into your recipe repertoire. Your gut LOVES diversity and we should all be aiming for 30 different plants a week.
5. Befriend a dog. As if we need an excuse!
Got a friend with a dog? Book them in for a walk to give yourself a dose of some extra microbes! And take your kids along – studies have shown being around pets at an early age can help build a diverse microbiome. *Sends Whatsapp message*
6. Get mindful
Carve out some time for yourself (post Symprove shot would be perfect) and introduce a mindfulness practice into your morning. For example, 10 minutes of diaphragmatic breathing or gentle stretches to help set you up with a calm and relaxed mindset for the day. Being mindful is all about reconnecting with yourself and how you feel. Alternatively, why not give one of the many mindfulness apps out there a try?
7. Make every meal a dinner date
There’s something to be said for mindful eating. Sit at the table, put your phone to the side, and enjoy every mouthful (remembering to chew, chew, chew). If you’re not taking part in dry Jan, maybe pour a glass of red wine because your gut is a fan of polyphenols.
8. And then invite your friends round
We don’t know about you but seeing our friends is an instant mood boost. Rustle up a gut-loving dinner, make sure it’s full of colourful veggies and those plant points your gut loves, and let those compliments to the chef roll in.
9. Make your bedroom a sleep haven
This might not be everyone’s idea of fun but hear us out. Sleep is a key pillar of gut health with 7-9 hours recommended per night (remember, the microbiome has its own body clock too). Now’s the time to turn your bedroom into a cosy den. Stack your bedside table with your sleep essentials, from a good book to lavender spray. Grab an eye mask, hide your phone in a cupboard and enjoy those precious zzzzzz’s.