15-17 November 2024
Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

You have probably heard that gut health is important and what you heard is correct. There are trillions of microbes

that call your gut home. The bugs, mostly bacteria, help you digest food, absorb nutrients and research shows they can play an important role in both your mental wellbeing and immune health.

1.    Aim for 30 plant foods a week

A diet high in plant foods has been linked to a gut with healthy bacteria. In fact one study showed when participants ate 30 different plant types per week it resulted in a greater diversity of gut bacteria  than those who ate 10 or fewer types.  This includes all sorts of seeds, nuts, fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices,  legumes and grains too. Give it a go. You could start with sprinkling seeds and nuts on your breakfast cereal, adding legumes to pasta sauces and curries, grabbing a handful of edamame beans, cherry tomatoes, corn on the cob or baby cucumbers for afternoon tea.

If you are looking for more tips on how to hit the target the healthylife Ways to eat for gut health program has a free Ways to 30 plants in 7 days guide for you. Move your body in ways you enjoy

2.    Drink water to keep the bowels regular.

When we eat more plant foods we have a diet higher in fibre. Some fibres absorb water which helps soften the stools. So as you increase fibre you may need to increase your fluid intake, particularly water. If you experience bloating it might be best to go easy on drinks with bubbles (aka carbonated), having more than 300ml could cause some distress.

3.    Include some legumes in your diet

Legumes contain all different types of fibre; soluble, insoluble and resistant starch that acts as a form of prebiotic). The variety of fibre is good, including pre biotic fibre that our gut bacteria uses like food and ferment, which is good for our health. Fibre helps bulk up the stools and soften them to keep things moving along. 30grams of fibre a day is the aim to keep you regular and promote good health. To boost your legume intake add some kidney beans to your bolognaise, chickpeas to your salad and a can of mixed beans to soup.

4.    Ignore the fad diets, cleanses and remedies that over promise to improve your gut health.

The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating food selection guide has a visual representation on the proportion of each of the five food groups to make it easy to see. You can check it out here. It might sound simple and it doesn’t have to be complex, most of us aren’t meeting these targets as we saw in the  data we analysed for the Living Healthy Report 2023, see how Australians are eating via the link here..

5.    Read a little more and find some tools to make looking after your gut health a little easier.

There are lots of things we can do to look after our gut health like moving your body more and looking after our mental wellbeing. Finding accurate health information though can be tricky so the team at healthylife have created a guide, ‘How to find reliable sources of health information,’ you can find it via the link here. If you would like some more tips on eating for gut health, sign up to the free healthylife ‘Ways to eat’ for gut health program- here


Author: Simone Austin, Chief Health Officer Healthylife, Accredited Practising Dietitian

Important: if you are experiencing chronic gastrointestinal problems, please consult with your healthcare professional. This article offers general diet and lifestyle advice to help support gut health for otherwise healthy individuals and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This is not designed to replace individual health advice from a healthcare professional.