How to improve your gut health and how it can help with running
If you’ve ever tried a new food or supplement on race day, or you’ve found yourself pushing too hard, you may be familiar with runner’s gut.
An upset stomach certainly isn’t comfortable and can even take you out of a race altogether. New research shows that the gut can impact our running (and overall health) in other ways, too.
Take care of your gut health by looking after the billions of helpful bacteria that reside there. The microbiome is the word that describes the environment that those bacteria live in – in our case, the entire gastrointestinal system. If you feed your body the wrong things, your gut can become imbalanced, and good bacteria may struggle to thrive. If you can look after your gut during off-season and your training months, it will pay off greatly on race day. Here are some foods to avoid and some to include for good gut health for runners.
Reduce or remove these foods from your diet to improve your gut health:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Processed food
- Recreational drugs
- Stress and
Some of those will irritate the gut, causing upsets that could have been avoided. You may be familiar with an acute stomach upset if you face anxiety before a race, for example.
If you want to help reduce inflammation and encourage good bacteria growth, try these ideas.
- Add a probiotic to your diet. These help to top up the levels of good bacteria in your gut and can help address imbalances. You can usually find them in the pharmacy or the supermarket.
- Make your own probiotic drink such as kefir or kombucha. Commercially produced options are becoming more widely available.
- Manage your fibre intake well. Grab your fibre from natural sources where possible (fresh fruit and vegetables) rather than supplements. Don’t start supplementing fibre close to race day, as your gut may not accept a sudden increase gracefully.
- Experiment with fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. The natural bacteria that ferments the vegetables can be great for gut health.
- Get plenty of monounsaturated fat into your diet from healthy sources like avocadoes, salmon and olive oil. These can help reduce inflammation in the gut.
Good gut health can lead to better moods, better health and fewer upset stomachs during training and racing.
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Whilst Enertor has over 18 years Orthotics experience, our blog content is provided for informational purposes only and it is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical advice. Enertor advises anyone with an injury to seek their own medical advice – and do not make any health or medical related decisions based solely on information found on this site.