World Digestive Health Day 2021

28th May 2021

HAPPY WORLD DIGESTIVE HEALTH DAY!

Today is a much awaited day on the Guts UK calendar. Guts UK is the only UK charity funding research into the digestive system from top to tail. We must spark a global conversation about gut health and raise awareness of digestive diseases. There is a crippling taboo surrounding conversations about our guts. Today is the perfect day to start abolishing that taboo!

World Digestive Health Day 2021 Theme: Obesity

Guts. We all have them. Around 25ft of them, in fact!

With so many ‘fad’ diets everywhere we look and mixed messages on social media, as much as we may want to be healthier or lose weight, it’s tricky to know what you can and can’t trust when it comes to your health.

The dietary choices we make (or even those that are made for us) all the way from birth to grave determine our lifespan and our quality of life. Guts UK are proud to fund nutrition research, alongside research into multiple digestive diseases.

If you’re interested in your whole 25ft of guts, digestive health or your gut microbiome, read more below:

Healthy Eating & The Digestive System

Healthy Eating & The Digestive System

Nutrition & our guts!

“Nutrition is fundamental to life & health. The dietary choices we make & others make for us, from birth to grave, determine our lifespan & quality of life. Progress is not going to come from one huge study, but from lots of studies chipping away at the problem. That is why Guts UK’s research grants are so welcome” – Dr. Alastair McKinlay, President of the British Society of Gastroenterology.

Read Alastair’s full interview here.

Guts UK’s Healthy Eating & The Digestive System information

With so much information, so many ‘new diets’ and ‘trends’ everywhere we look, it’s tricky to know what you can and can’t trust when it comes to your health.

We have a full information section (or leaflet if you’d prefer one in the post) on healthy eating and your digestive system.

Read Guts UK’s Healthy Eating & The Digestive System information here.

How to spot a 'fad' diet!

Selection of healthy food on rustic wooden backgroundIf you’re looking to improve your diet or lose weight, here’s how to spot bad dietary advice:

  • Diets that offer a ‘magic’ medicine, ingredient or product
  • Promise of rapid weight loss (more than 2lbs per week)
  • Encourage you to avoid or remove a whole food group (e.g. dairy, carbohydrates) from your diet, with no medical reason to do so
  • Suggest being overweight is related to a food allergy or ‘yeast infection’
  • Recommend ‘detoxing’
  • Offer no supporting evidence, other than personal stories / celebrity success stories

Our friends at The British Dietetic Association have plenty of useful information on this topic here.

The gut microbiome

Your gut microbiota refers to all of the microorganisms (e.g. bacteria) that live within your gut. In fact, the largest population of microorganisms within the body live within the bowel.

Your microbiota has many functions, including defending against harmful microorganisms and digesting dietary fibre, that humans are unable to digest. Your microbiota also ease the absorption of some essential vitamins, and can even affect your mental health. Dietary habits and the way food is cooked will also influence your gut microbiota.

We’ve put together a useful Introduction to Gut Bacteria section, here.

Are you eating enough fibre?

Most people in the UK don’t eat enough fibre, but the good ‘bugs’ in your gut (your gut microbiome) love fibre – it is your gut microbiota’s food!

For adults aged 19-64, the average fibre intake in the UK is just 19g per day – though the recommended amount is around 30g per day.

An additional 7g of fibre in the daily diet reduces the risk of:

  • Bowel cancer by 8%
  • Cardiovascular disease & heart attacks by 9%
  • Strokes by 7%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 6%

If you’re interested in increasing your fibre intake:

  • If you’re looking to increase your fibre intake, you may also need to increase your fluid/water intake to help fibre move through the digestive system and to avoid constipation.
  • In addition, it’s important to increase your intake gradually, or you may experience symptoms like flatulence and bloating.

Read more on how to increase your fibre intake here.

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