Improving your gut health is a simple way to make a real difference to your health and wellbeing, particular since it is now implicated in many diseases.
It’s also that time again when we pledge to become fitter, better versions of ourselves. In fact, the majority (61%) of British women make at least one New Year’s resolution, according to a new survey commissioned by constipation treatment Dulcolax. Health resolutions usually top the list: more than a third (37%) of women have pledged to eat more healthily and exercise more (35%), 14% have said they’ll aim to drink less alcohol, and more than one in ten (12%) have used the New Year to try a fad diet.
The vast majority fail to stick to their plans, however, with research also showing that 82% of women broke their resolutions last year*, with over half (62%) breaking them in 30 days or less*. A quarter (25%) say they got bored*, one in five (20%) say their resolution didn’t fit with their life*, while 17% say their lack of will power is to blame.
The research from Dulcolax also shines a light on the possible secrets to success with one in five (19%) women saying they would make more resolutions if they were easier to stick to and 13% would if their new habit had more of a noticeable impact on their lives.
Kate Arnold is a nutritionist and gut expert with years of experience helping clients make healthy changes. She says: “While it’s a good idea to re-examine your habits to make some healthy goals for the year ahead, completely overhauling your lifestyle in January is almost guaranteed to fail. I always recommend making realistic New Year’s resolutions, broken down into achievable and measurable steps so you can see your progress. We all slip up now and then. Instead of beating yourself up every time you reach for the biscuit tin or get the bus instead of walking home, remember that every day is an opportunity to take control of your health.”
Kate Arnold continues: “If kick-starting a healthy lifestyle feels like a mammoth task, focusing on optimising your gut health could be a simple way to improve your overall wellbeing. Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables and soluble fibre like porridge, and drinking lots of water will keep your digestive system working well, while gentle exercise will keep your gut and bowel working as they should. Our gastrointestinal system, and particularly our gut flora, has a significant impact on the rest of our body – affecting everything from moods to weight. Anyone who’s had even a fairly minor problem with their digestion, like a bout of constipation, knows it can massively affect how you feel. Instead of setting yourself another unrealistic resolution that won’t last longer than the Christmas tree, try taking care of yourself by looking after your gut.”
For lifestyle changes and tips for a healthy bowel and avoiding common issues like constipation visit www.myconstipationrelief.com.
If lifestyle changes aren’t working, and you find yourself experiencing constipation, you may need a little extra support in the form of a treatment, like Dulcolax. Dulcolax tablets, £2.24 for a pack of 20, provide predictable overnight relief from constipation and are available from pharmacies and supermarkets nationwide.
About the survey
The survey of 2,003 people, including 1,035 women, was conducted by Censuswide between 02.11.2016 and 04.11.2016.
*Stats taken from a survey of 2,003 people, including 1,028 women, conducted by Censuswide between 26.10.2016 and 28.10.2016.
About Kate Arnold
Kate Arnold is a nutritionist with more than 18 years’ experience specialising in gastrointestinal disorders. She works with a range of organisations and individuals from her clinic in Sussex.
Disclaimer: Kate Arnold does not endorse Dulcolax or any other medicine.
Further tips and advice:
If trying to overhaul your health seems like a mammoth task this New Year, focusing on your gut is a simple and effective way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. To make 2017 the year you take control of your gut health, nutritionist Kate Arnold has the following tips:
Eat lots of the good stuff – fruit and veg are superstars for a reason. As well as containing essential vitamins and nutrients for the whole body, they’re high in fibre which is crucial for a strong digestive system, keeping you regular and avoiding issues like constipation. In particular onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, dark green leafy vegetables and unripe bananas help promote the right environment for gut flora to grow
Avoid junk food – processed food tends to be higher in fat, salt and sugar: all of which can overload your system and put pressure on your gut. Cooking for yourself is also a great exercise in mindfulness and a stress reliever, plus you know exactly what you’re eating
Stay hydrated – don’t overlook liquids as they also impact the gut. Avoid too much dehydrating caffeine and alcohol, and drink plenty of water
Eat slowly and mindfully – really paying attention to your food and not shovelling it down means you can appreciate what you’re putting in to your body, so you’re more likely to pick things that are good for it, rather than choosing convenience or cravings.
Eat good fats – fatty oils like omega-3 are essential for your brain, and if you’re feeling good, you’re more likely to take good care of yourself. Pick oily fish, nuts and avocados, and avoid trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils which have a negative impact on your body and mind in the long term
Check for intolerances or allergies – try eliminating a certain food for a while if you suspect you’re intolerant, and get tested if you’re worried
Eat smaller portions – sometimes it takes a while to realise we’re full so we can end up overeating, which can make our digestive systems sluggish and cause constipation. If you’re still hungry in half an hour, have some more!
Write a food diary to see if you’re really eating enough of the good stuff, and not too much of the bad. Looking at your food for the week can show up any gaps or excesses
Figure out triggers for bad habits – a food diary is also helpful here. Write down how you felt and what was going on at the time of eating to see if there are certain things that affect your eating, e.g. eating sugary, high-fat foods when you’re stressed
Talk to your doctor – if you have specific concerns always talk to your doctor
For more advice on having a healthy gut go to www.myconstipationrelief.com