A growing number of scientists now believe the gut is our second brain. With more scientific research revealing how our digestion can have a powerful effect on anything from immunity to mood, Dr Domenig, head medical doctor at The Original FX Mayr Clinic, shares his top 5 tips for a healthy gut.
1 – Although wheat, gluten and lactose are the biggest triggers for food intolerances, one shouldn’t rule out other, more obscure, food groups that have also been known to cause reactions. ‘Your gut is nature’s best nutritionist, because it will react to what it can’t tolerate,’ says Dr Stephen Domenig, head medical doctor from The Original FX Mayr Clinic in Austria, where the philosophy is healing the gut to heal the body. ‘I would recommend cutting out all processed, sugary foods, as well as chewing thoroughly and avoiding drinking between mouthfuls, as it slows digestion’ he adds.
2 – A recent study from McMaster University in Canada found a link between poor gut health and heightened anxiety and depression. ‘The gut contains the second largest number of neuro cells, after the brain’ says Dr Domenig. ‘So inside your gut there’s a huge entity of bacteria that impacts on the neuro cells to influence moods and emotional wellbeing.’
3 – We all eat too much, too fast, too late at night and gradually wear down our digestive systems, leading to a backlog of undigested food and toxins. Our stomachs can take up to four hours to process a meal, so it’s not wise to dump fresh food on top of nearly digested food. Raw foods are highly nutritious but they are also more difficult to digest and are prone to ferment in the stomach if eaten later in the day. Try to eat raw foods only before 4pm. Once your digestive system is cleansed, rested and you begin to eat the right things properly – that means chewing each mouthful at least 30 times – you can absorb nutrients and the liver can do its job, kick-starting better overall health.
4 – If we cut down on the acid-forming foods – which are largely the proteins, refined fats and sugars we have become accustomed to – and replace them with more alkalising foods, we take a major step towards improving our health and wellbeing. If you follow the simple ratio of 2:1 alkaline foods to acid on your plate, you will achieve that balanced diet.
5- Dr Domenig suggests this yoga pose to help improve the removal of toxins from the body. Lie on your back with your arms by your sides, palms down. Inhale and lift your feet off the floor, slowly raising your legs until they go over your head, touching the floor behind you if you can. Hold for a count of ten seconds.
For more details about Dr Domenig, visit The Original FX Mayr Clinic website