Gut Health with Sara Widdowson

Everyone has experienced butterflies in their stomach...

Everyone has experienced butterflies in their stomach or that pit feeling when we have too much on our mind. That physical sensation is a very real phenomenon, the gut brain connection. Your gut and brain are in constant communication and share the Vagus nerve which connects the two.

It is because of this connection between our mind and body that stress management is essential for gut health. We know that stress impacts on digestive function as your body perceives most forms of stress as danger (regardless of if you are indeed in danger or not) and activates the fight or flight nervous system response. This causes bloating, reflux and even bowel habit changes for people.

We also know that your gut microbiome (which collectively weigh more than your brain) have a large impact on our mood as more than 90% of the neurotransmitter serotonin is made in the gut.

So, how can we support our gut health?

- Feed your gut microbiome by including plenty of fibre in your diet. Fibre is found in plant-based foods so aim to include at 6-8 serves of vegetables per day. While it might sound like a lot if you start at breakfast by including toast toppings such as hummus and sprouts or avocado and tomato or add spinach to your smoothie, you’ll be well on your way to hitting your target by dinner time.

- Chew your food and slow down. It sounds simple but eating too quickly is a common cause of bloating and reflux. When we eat too quickly, we swallow air and don’t give the enzymes in our saliva enough opportunity to begin to break down food, putting pressure on the remainder of the digestive system.

- Try adding fermented foods to your diet to add diversity to your gut microbiome! Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kombucha and Kefir are examples of fermented foods.

- Swap your coffee for a decaffeinated version. Caffeine amplifies anxiety, divert blood away from your gut and disrupts digestion.

- Practice deep belly breathing. This strengthens the Vagus nerve that connects our brain and gut and reduces anxiety by switching off the fight or flight nervous system response.

Sara Widdowson

I'm Sara, a Dietitian & Women's Health Expert who believes that women need to know more about their bodies, their hormones, and their fertility, because fertility, is about so much more than making babies.

My passion is teaching women about our female sex hormones and how they play a vital role in our health, our lives, and how periods should be celebrated rather than wished away. Too many women consider fertility as all about conception, and if you are not ready to start a family, why would you care about fertility, right? Wrong gorgeous! Female hormones boost your libido, promote a healthy metabolism, and even play a role in your skin and hair health.

If you have specific health concerns such as fertility troubles, PCOS, Endometriosis, Hypothalamic Ammenhorrea, or you simply think your monthly health could do with some of that TLC you give everyone else, then it is time to invest in a coaching session with the expert.