We asked Gastroenterology Dietitian, Dr Sammie Gill, to share five easy ways we can get our gut microbiome off to a good start each morning.
1. Have a fibre-filled breakfast to feed your gut microbes
Maximise plant-based diversity and give your gut microbes a treat first thing. Think wholegrain toast with peanut butter and banana, fruit-filled crepes, porridge with nuts, seeds and honey, or even a cooked breakfast with baked beans, spinach, mushrooms and grilled tomatoes. For your everyday cereal, why not simply add a handful of dried fruit? A cup of tea or coffee will also give your microbes a dose of polyphenols!
2. Try 10 minutes of focusing on the gut-brain axisIf you’re feeling stressed, your gut will feel stressed too - this is the comms between your gut and brain going into overdrive. So get the day off to a relaxing start for you and your gut by prioritising a 10-minute gut-focused activity, such as yoga, mindfulness or diaphragmatic breathing. This can help aid digestion and keep unwanted gut symptoms at bay.
3. Remember to take your 10mg vitamin DAdults and children should be taking a vitamin D supplement (10 micrograms) every day to keep levels topped up, especially throughout the winter months (between October-March). Besides bone health, vitamin D plays a key role in immune function. Studies have also shown vitamin D supplementation can increase gut microbiome diversity. Try and make it part of your morning routine. For example, when you make your first cup of tea or coffee (or leave out the night before so you help you remember).
4. Get outside to focus your mind (and pick up a healthy dose of microbes!)Getting outside in natural light for some fresh air can help us feel happier and healthier by lowering stress and focusing the mind (and picking up a new dose of microbes!). Try and find a green area such as a local park, field, river or wood, even if only for a short time before you start your day. If you work from home, why not walk around the block in the morning to mimic the work journey (and again once you finish) to help compartmentalise work-home life.
5. Make a to-do list to organise your thoughts for the day
The brain loves ordered tasks so making a to-do list first thing in the morning can be really useful. It can help reduce anxiety when life is hectic and busy (which helps dampen gut-brain axis overdrive) and gives us a structured plan to stick to. So why not spend 5 minutes in the morning writing a clear, concise and realistic to-do list which, at the end of the day, also provides us with proof of what’s been achieved!