How Healthy Is Your Gut?

Cute woman holding a bowl with cereals while smiling at camera

Maintaining a healthy gut is an important aspect of our overall well being, but it’s not always at the top of our agendas.

According to recent research conducted by Kellogg’s, more than half (55%) of the nation believe that they get their daily fibre intake. However, only 1 in 10 (8%) of the UK population are getting the recommended 30g a day. Matt Perkins, nutritionist for the Kellogg’s Happy Gut range, explains the risks that an unhealthy gut can create, and how eating more fibre can keep your gut happy and healthy.

Matt Perkins

Matt Perkins
Pic: Daniel Lynch

Matt Perkins explains why a typically Western diets can affect the amount of fibre we eat: “Unfortunately, a typical Western diet now means one that is high in refined carbohydrates and sugars, calorie dense and low in vitamins and minerals, with low intake of fruits, grains and cereals, and therefore low in fibre”.

Health issues can occur from a low fibre diet. For example, “Emerging science is showing us that a lack of fibre impacts your gut microbiome, meaning you have fewer healthy bacterial strains, compared to someone who is following a plant based high fibre diet”.

Matt goes on: “An imbalance of good versus bad bacteria in the gut (known as “gut dysbiosis”) over time can affect not only your gut health, but also a range of other chronic health conditions. These can range from inflammatory conditions like IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), and arthritis to metabolic conditions like obesity and diabetes”.

Jacket Potato with Baked Beans

Pic: iStockphoto

But an unhealthy gut can also lead to wrongly self-diagnosing: “A lot of people mistakenly diagnose themselves with IBS, but may actually be experiencing sluggish bowels as a result of low fibre”. So, ensuring your diet contains the recommended daily intake is important.

Matt explains that, as grains are the easy way to up your fibre intake, Kellogg’s Happy Guts range is a great place to start: “You’d have to pack in four and a half slices of wholegrain toast to obtain the same fibre intake as just one bowl of All-Bran”. Try sprinkling Bran Flakes, All-Bran or Fruit n’ Fibre on yoghurt, porridge or into a smoothie to easily up your fibre intake. Or try these quick and easy high-fibre recipes.

Boxes of Kellogg's Branflake range

Kellogg’s Happy Gut range 750g RRP £2.89 – £2.99, available from all major retailers.

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!