How to Prep Your Gut for the Summer

How to Prep Your Gut for the Summer

This year summer officially begins on the 20th June, marked by the summer solstice. This is when the sun reaches its highest point and the northern hemisphere gets a full dose of sunshine, promising (hopefully) warmer weather. Whether you’re heading abroad for a holiday or embracing a staycation, I’m here to remind you to include gut health in your summer holiday prep.  

I know prepping your gut for a holiday isn’t as obvious as packing sunscreen and a good book, but trust me, your stomach will thank you! Changes in your diet and routine, hot weather, travel and changing time zones can all contribute to gut problems like constipation and bloating 

Summer also brings higher rates of gastroenteritis (a gut infection which causes inflammation leading to nausea, cramps and diarrhoea). Traveller’s diarrhoea (a type of gastroenteritis often caused by contaminated food or water) is the most predictable travel-related illness too. Though you can't control everything, here are some things you can do to help keep your gut happy during the holiday season. 

Getting set to go 

In the weeks leading up to your holiday, optimise your gut health by including as many different plant foods (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, lentils, beans, herbs, spices and wholegrains) in your meals as you can. Doing this can increase the diversity of your gut microbiome, which makes it more resilient to gut upsets caused by harmful microbes. If you’re managing a gut condition and you’re more limited with what you can eat, maximise what you can. 

Here are my 7 top tips

  1. Make colourful salads a lunchtime staple; start with leafy greens or grains, add a mix of raw or cooked veggies, throw over lentils or chickpeas, top with a dressing and crunchy seeds 
  2. Add a veggie starter to your evening meal - I love a simple tomato basil salad or grated carrot slaw with a zingy vinaigrette and some poppy seeds  
  3. Add a mix of fruit to your morning cereal - a bag of frozen mixed berries works a treat  
  4. Squish or slice soft fruit like raspberries or peaches on top of nut butter and seedy toast 
  5. Batch cook a few different grains (bulgur, barley, rice, quinoa) and use in salads or as a base for your evening meal 
  6. Snack on a nut and seed mix  
  7. Plan in a few new recipes - these gut-friendly recipes are perfect for upping your plant points  

There’s also evidence that fermented foods like kefir, live yoghurt and sauerkraut may increase the diversity of gut microbes too. Try kefir in place of milk on cereal or granola, live yoghurt with fruit, and sauerkraut on salads or sarnies. If you’re new to ferments, start with a small serve daily to give your gut time to adjust to the new addition.

Looking for ways to support your gut on holiday? Head to our holiday hub for more expert tips and tricks.