One in five believe their gut will influence their dreams if it is trying to tell them something – but nearly half don’t know the importance of diet for gut health
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Forget head over heart – Brits firmly believe in gut-first when making decisions, according to research.
A poll of 2,000 adults found 70% always trust their instincts, with more than a third (35%) experiencing a physical “gut feeling” about situations.
Nearly one in five (17%) turn to the feeling in their gut to tell them if something’s wrong when it comes to their health, while 20% rely on their intuition to guide them when it comes to trusting a partner.
And 21% think their gut will influence their dreams if it’s trying to tell them something.
But despite being ruled by this part of their anatomy, 36% are unaware of the gut’s importance to overall wellbeing.
And 40% don’t know the role diet plays in gut health – and, despite fibre supporting good gut health, only 7% know how much they should be eating.
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NHS doctor and registered associate nutritionist, Dr Joshua Wolrich, who is working with California Almonds, which commissioned the research, said: “While there’s a lot we don’t know about the gut, we do know there’s trillions of bacteria living in it – our gut microbiota.
“Changes to the microbiota are associated with multiple health concerns, including heart disease, liver disease, and diabetes.
“Food is its main fuel, so a balanced diet is critical, and fibre is crucial to supporting healthy gut activity.
“Research has found that eating almonds, a high fibre food, may improve the gut microbiome by increasing its diversity, while also decreasing relative levels of potentially harmful bacteria.”
The study also found half of adults are unaware of the common symptoms of an unhappy stomach – with 72% failing to recognise disturbed sleep as a sign there could be something more serious wrong.
Another 22% have struggled to perform at work when they were having a digestive issue, and a quarter claimed to not want to socialise as often as before.
But the study, carried out via OnePoll, found having a healthy diet (60%), sufficient water intake (54%), and quality sleep (43%) are among some of the positive ways to improve gut health.
DR JOSHUA WOLRICH’S TIPS TO HELP MAINTAIN A HEALTHY GUT:
- FILL UP ON FIBRE – Fibre is essential for the normal functioning of the gut – but according to government data, only 8% of adults actually hit the recommended 30g a day target. Why not try swapping your regular snack for a 30g handful of almonds, or use them to top yoghurt, salads or curries to add an extra fibre boost?
- SPICE UP YOUR LIFE – The more variety in your diet, the more variety in nutrients for your gut microbes. Research has shown people who ate more than 30 different plant foods each week had a more diverse gut microbiome than those who ate 10 or fewer.
- A SUCCESSFUL SLEEP – The gut microbiome is influenced by circadian rhythms, so not only does your gut impact your sleep quality, but poor sleep can also impact your gut microbiota. Sticking to a regular sleep routine can help with your circadian rhythm and avoid any disruptions to your gut.
- HYDRATE TO FEEL GREAT – Staying hydrated benefits your whole body, but it also plays a role in your gut health by aiding digestion – water helps break down food in your body so nutrients can be absorbed.