National Nutrition Month: Shares Expert Tips for a Healthy Gut

National Nutrition Month kicks off on March 1st! is thrilled to join the celebration by promoting awareness and providing valuable insights into maintaining a healthy gut. Kristina Zalnieraite, a licensed dietitian and Head of Dietetics & Medical Affairs at, offers practical tips to improve your digestive well-being.

“True gut health goes beyond the plate; it’s about embracing a holistic approach that nurtures the body, mind and soul. To cultivate a healthy gut, we must not only choose nourishing foods but also prioritize mental well-being and incorporate movement into our lives. It’s the harmonious blend of nutrition, lifestyle and mindfulness that paves the way to a vibrant and resilient digestive system,” – shares Kristina.

Proper nutrition should consistently be considered as a foundation for a healthy gut. Kristina shares several recommendations that can immensely improve daily nutritional habits:

1- Fibre-Rich Foods

Fibre-rich foods play a crucial role in promoting optimal gut health due to their numerous benefits. Soluble fiber acts like a sponge, absorbing water and forming a gel-like substance that aids in maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. Fiber also serves as a prebiotic, providing a fuel source for beneficial gut bacteria.

Kristina Zalnieraite shares:

“The recommended daily fibre intake varies depending on age, sex and individual health goals. A general guideline for adults is consuming 25 to 38 grams of fibre daily. According to recent statistics, many adults consume only around 15 grams of fibre each day. This insufficiency in fibre intake can lead to health issues, including digestive problems like constipation and an increased risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and metabolic disorders. Inadequate amounts of fibre can also negatively impact gut health by disrupting the balance of beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.

By making conscious efforts to include more fibre-rich foods in our meals and snacks, we can work towards meeting recommended intake levels and supporting optimal gut health and overall vitality.

For those with no pre-existing digestive disorders like IBS, who want to improve their gut health, here are some top choices and creative ways to incorporate them into your diet:

Whole Grains: Opt for whole grains such as oats, barley, quinoa and brown rice. These grains are rich in soluble fibre and provide a wealth of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Swap refined grains for whole grains in dishes like oatmeal, salads, stir-fry and grain bowls.

Berries: Incorporate a variety of berries like raspberries, blackberries and strawberries into your meals and snacks. They are delicious and packed with fibre, vitamins and antioxidants. Add them to breakfast cereals, yogurt and smoothies, or enjoy them as a refreshing snack.

Legumes: Include legumes such as lentils, beans and chickpeas in your diet regularly. These plant-based protein sources are excellent sources of fibre. Incorporate them into soups, stews, salads and wraps, or blend them into hummus dip for a fibre-rich boost.

Vegetables: Load up on a variety of vegetables, including broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, spinach, kale and other leafy greens. These vegetables are rich in both soluble and insoluble fibre, along with a host of other nutrients. Enjoy them raw in salads, steamed, roasted as a side dish or sautéed with herbs and spices for added flavour.

Nuts and Seeds: Snack on nuts and seeds such as almonds, walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseeds for a dose of healthy fats, protein and fibre. Sprinkle them on top of yogurt, oatmeal and salads, or incorporate them into homemade energy bars, trail mix or baked goods for added texture and nutrition.

You can support optimal gut health and overall well-being by incorporating these fibre-rich foods into your meals and snacks regularly. Experiment with different recipes and cooking methods to keep your meals exciting and enjoyable while reaping the numerous benefits of a fiber-rich diet.

For those who have IBS, it’s important to pay attention to the individual tolerance levels and specific symptoms. While fibre benefits many people, those with IBS may experience varying degrees of sensitivity to certain types of fiber.

When managing IBS, it’s important to pay attention to how different types of fibre affect the symptoms such as bloating, gas, abdominal pain and changes in bowel habits is essential.

Some individuals with IBS find that soluble fibres in certain vegetables, fruits and seeds are better tolerated and may help alleviate symptoms by regulating bowel movements without causing excess gas or discomfort.

On the other hand, fibres, found in foods like garlic, onion, wheat containing products and some nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, may exacerbate symptoms for some individuals with IBS, particularly during flare-ups. Therefore, it’s crucial to work with a healthcare provider or registered dietitian specializing in digestive health to determine the appropriate amount and type of fibre for your individual needs and tolerances.”

For more specific tips on building strong gut health, particularly for those struggling with IBS, offers a FREE IBS Relief 101 Guide, including basic information on where to start on the journey to stronger gut health.

2- Proper Hydration

Fast-paced and hectic lives make it common to neglect the importance of staying adequately hydrated. Replacing water with caffeinated beverages like coffee and sugar-filled soft drinks negatively impacts the digestive system.

Making a conscious effort to prioritize water intake is a simple yet impactful step toward nurturing a thriving digestive system.

Kristina continues:

“Water plays a crucial role in various digestive processes, aiding in the breakdown, absorption and transportation of nutrients throughout the body. It also helps soften stool, preventing constipation, bloating, cramping and discomfort.

Nutrient absorption may be compromised without adequate hydration, potentially leading to deficiencies and other health issues. Also, proper hydration supports a thriving microbiome by facilitating the transport of nutrients and waste products, creating an environment conducive to the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.

To ensure optimal gut health, it’s essential to drink an adequate amount of water throughout the day. While individual hydration needs may vary based on age, weight, activity level and climate, a general recommendation is to aim for around 8-10 cups (about 2-2.5 liters) of water daily for most adults.

In addition to water, consuming hydrating foods such as fruits and vegetables can also contribute to overall hydration levels.

Here are three practical tips to help you stay hydrated throughout the day:

-Carry a reusable water bottle: A reusable water bottle is a visual reminder to drink water regularly. Choose a bottle that you enjoy using and find convenient to carry.

-Set hydration goals: Daily hydration goals can help you track and monitor your water intake. Aim to drink a certain amount of water at specific times throughout the day, such as a glass upon waking up, before each meal and before bedtime.

-Infuse water with flavour: If plain water feels monotonous, add natural flavour to your hydration routine by infusing water with fruits, vegetables or herbs. Try combinations like cucumber and mint, lemon and ginger or berries and basil to create refreshing infused water.”

3-Mindful Eating and Proper Chewing

Mindful eating is being fully present and attentive during meals, a practice often overlooked in time-demanding lifestyles. In the rush of our daily routines, many are eating on the run, multitasking, and not paying attention to how they’re eating. Many forget how crucial proper chewing is, often leading to poorly broken-down food. This hurried approach hinders digestion, as the initial stage of food breakdown and enzyme release happens in the mouth.

Kristina adds:

“Mindful eating, a practice rooted in mindfulness, encourages a heightened awareness of your eating habits, food choices and body signals. Paying attention to the taste, texture and aroma of food, along with body sensations and emotions surrounding eating creates a complete eating experience.

Key principles of mindful eating:

-Slow down and chew thoroughly: Eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly allows for better digestion and absorption of nutrients. It also gives your body time to recognize feelings of fullness, preventing overeating and reducing the likelihood of triggering digestive symptoms. By observing your body’s responses to different foods, you can make informed choices that support your digestive health.

-Savour each bite: Take the time to truly enjoy the flavours and textures of your food. By savouring each bite, you can enhance the pleasure of eating and discover a deeper appreciation for the nourishment your meals provide.

-Be conscious of portion sizes: Pay attention to portion sizes and avoid eating to the point of discomfort. Mindful eating involves tuning in to your body’s hunger and fullness cues, stopping when you feel satisfied rather than overly full.

-Stay present and engaged: Minimize distractions such as electronic devices or multitasking during meals. Focus on the act of eating and the sensory experience of each bite, allowing yourself to engage with the present moment fully.

-Listen to your body: Tune in to your body’s hunger, fullness and satisfaction signals. Mindful eating encourages a non-judgmental awareness of physical sensations and emotional cues related to eating, fostering a positive relationship with food and reducing stress around meal times. This awareness can contribute to improved emotional well-being and greater satisfaction with eating.

Incorporating mindful eating practices into your daily routine can be a powerful tool in promoting overall digestive health. Try one step at a time and be consistent. Small changes lead to big achievements!

Meal timing:

Consider the importance of meal timing. Spacing meals evenly throughout the day can help regulate digestion and prevent overeating. Opt for leaving 3-4 hours between meals. Consistent meal timing contributes to more stable energy levels and may help you improve digestion.

Moreover, it’s important to highlight the importance of meal timing in supporting gut health and our body’s natural circadian rhythms. Our digestive system operates on a rhythm closely linked to the body’s internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm. Consistently aligning our meals with this rhythm can significantly benefit gut health and overall well-being and allow the digestive system to anticipate when food will be consumed, optimizing its function and efficiency.

Additionally, timing meals to coincide with periods of increased digestive activity, such as during the day when metabolism is higher, can further support gut health. Eating larger meals earlier in the day and lighter meals in the evening may benefit digestion and overall energy levels.

Furthermore, paying attention to meal timing can help mitigate disruptions to the gut microbiome, the collection of microorganisms in our digestive tract. Irregular eating patterns or late-night eating can negatively impact the balance of gut bacteria, potentially leading to digestive discomfort and other health issues.

Here are some practical tips for optimizing meal timing to support gut health and circadian rhythms:

Consistency is key: Aim to eat meals at roughly the same times each day to synchronize your body’s internal clock and promote digestive regularity.

Prioritize breakfast: Start your day with a balanced breakfast to kickstart your metabolism and provide essential nutrients for energy and focus.

Lighten up at night: Opt for lighter, easily digestible meals in the evening to avoid overloading your digestive system before bedtime. Leave at least 3 hours between your last meal and bedtime to aid digestion and promote restful sleep.” is a digital wellness platform aiming to revolutionize the approach to gut health worldwide and provide expert-led programs combining nutrition, psychology and movement therapy to make digestive health accessible from the comfort of your home.

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About Lisa Baker, Editor, Wellbeing News 4262 Articles
Editor Lisa Baker is passionate about the benefits of a holistic approach to healing. Lisa is a qualified Vibrational Therapist and has qualifications in Auricular Therapy, Massage, Kinesiology, Crystal Healing, Seichem and is a Reiki Master.