Think mental health, weight management and physical wellbeing. Here’s how to take stock and prepare ourselves for a restorative and energised autumn ahead…
Very few of us bounce into autumn feeling fabulous and, for many of us, it’s a case of dragging ourselves through into the festive season and feeling rather sluggish, bloated and lacking in energy. My question is ‘why wait to reset and introduce healthy habits in the new year when you can start right now with the help of our functional medicine multidisciplinary team?’ Our approach, and one which I find produces more lasting results, is to keep things simple, realistic and achievable.
Let’s begin with restoring your gut – the bedrock of good health starts with your gut. Your digestive system is like a sorting office where food gets delivered, nutrients are assimilated and deposited around the body and then waste is sent out. If this is working efficiently then everything else follows suit.
Dehydration, lack of sleep, high stress, alcohol, processed, fried, sugary and refined food/drink can all take their toll on your gut. As a result, you can encounter problems such as constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, indigestion, heartburn, fatigue and pain. This can impact your wellness, vitality, weight, hormones and mood.
Reset and start autumn by nourishing your body – to keep things simple, choose foods that are easy to digest and get good-quality lean proteins, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables. You can visit the BANT plate (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) for inspiration at http://bant.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/WELLNESS-SOLUTION-IMAGE.jpg
Eat more fibre – Fibre not only promotes gut health but helps to keep you full between meals and balance blood sugar levels to help stave off cravings. Beans, pulses, lentils, oats, seeds, nuts, apples, wholegrains, vegetables and dried fruit all contain fibre.
Feed your gut bacteria – Beneficial bacteria break down food to extract nutrients that we need for our survival. They also help to synthesise B vitamins including B12, folate and thiamine that we need for energy metabolism, red blood cell production and a healthy nervous system. A poor diet and stress can cause the gut to become ‘leaky’ and unbalanced with bacteria and yeasts that contribute to digestive issues. Introduce probiotic yoghurts and fermented foods to support the ‘good guys’. Probiotic supplements are also an effective way of balancing your gut bacteria.
Eat prebiotic foods – Good bacteria have a symbiotic relationship with prebiotics and are found in certain foods with high amounts of indigestible fibres such as inulin and resistant starch. They are fermented by bacteria in the gut and help good bacteria to flourish. Prebiotic foods include Jerusalem artichokes, bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks, pulses, potatoes and rice. The latter two foods must be cooked then cooled to produce resistant starch.
Other areas of support that you may consider for your journey to wellness are:
- Learn about functional medicine ifm.org/functional-medicine/
- Healthy sleep tips: sleepfoundation.org/sleep-tools-tips/healthy-sleep-tips
- Mindfulness in just a minute: just-a-minute.org/en/
My Book of the Month: ‘The Good Stuff’
This is the book I’ve been waiting for. As a Mum to three kids, I recommend Lucinda Miller’s brilliant book to help inspire parents to get their kids eating delicious ‘real food’. I hope you enjoy having as much fun with the recipes as I did with my trio.