An expert nutritionist has addressed some of the top myths around gut health – including adding a slice of lemon to your water, and whether cutting out gluten really helps.
Over half of Brits (54%) feel confused about gut health, with 51% not seeing it as a big issue, according to a poll of 2,000 adults.
But while 73% suffer symptoms such as constipation, diarrhoea, or bloating, at least once a week – up to seven weeks a year – 35% believe these symptoms are normal.
And only 27% would go to a doctor after a gut-related incident, while 30% would see a nutritionist – as 28% would not want to waste a doctor's time.
But nearly four in ten (39%) are unaware of the foods to eat to help their digestion – with 43% clueless about the key role fibre plays in their diet.
In light of the lack of awareness around gut health, registered nutritionist, Rhiannon Lambert, working with California Almonds which commissioned the research, said: “Knowing the right foods is an easy first step to treating these awkward symptoms, and research reveals that fibre-rich foods like almonds can support a healthy gut.”
The research went on to find that, despite many being affected by digestive troubles, more than a third (38%) don’t know these can indicate poor gut health, and only one in five think symptoms cause health concerns.
More than two-thirds (69%) would simply opt to self-medicate by changing their diet (56%), drinking more water (50%), and taking over-the-counter medicine (46%).
Popular TikTok “remedies”, which many are willing to try, include charcoal supplements, ginger shots, and lemon water, according to the stats via OnePoll.
Rhiannon Lambert added: “Our gut health is certainly something that we shouldn’t overlook – looking after it helps not just our digestion, but overall wellbeing, and can even prevent more serious diseases such as colon cancer and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) later down the line.
“For most of us, the key to good gut health is ensuring we’re eating a varied and balanced diet that supports our gut microbiota.
“Adding almonds is a great option to do this – and the latest scientific research shows eating whole and ground almonds can increase the short chain fatty acid butyrate, which is associated with multiple health benefits, including better sleep, decreased inflammation, and decreased risk of colon cancer.”
RHIANNON LAMBERT BUSTS THE MOST COMMON FOOD MYTHS SURROUNDING GUT HEALTH:
- MYTH: You should go to the toilet every day. You may be constipated if you notice that you haven’t passed a stool for longer than you would normally. Consuming almonds may support increased bowel movements.
- MYTH: Lemon water is great for your gut. Adding a slice of lemon to your water, while tasty, is unlikely to do anything for your gut microbiome, or provide any sort of “detox” effect. Drinking plenty of water is enough to keep your gut functioning normally, as dehydration can result in constipation.
- MYTH: You get enough of your fibre from cereals. Most don’t reach the recommended 30g of fibre per day, so if you enjoy cereals for breakfast, look for varieties that contain whole foods sources such as almonds, oats, and complex carbs.
- MYTH: Giving up gluten is good for the gut. Cutting out food groups has no benefit to the gut, and can limit a variety of healthy foods in the diet – so unless you have Coeliac disease or a confirmed intolerance, consuming gluten will likely have no negative effects. Wholemeal breads can be a great source of fibre, which is a key nutrient for supporting a healthy gut.
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