Gut Health


June 15, 2023

Over the next two weeks we want you to join us, in a gut health challenge.

The gut (our digestive tract) holds 70% of our immune system and affects every organ of the body. As we eat, the gut works to break down food and absorb the nutrients we need to help support our body.

There has been increasing research into the gut over the last few years and its topic has grown in popularity. Especially research on the “gut-brain axis”. The gut-brain axis is a two way biochemical pathway that takes place between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system. And so, keeping your gut microbiome happy not only helps your body, but it benefits the brain. 

Days 1-4

Get into the habit of having a mug of water with lemon each morning, adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. 

The ingredients

  • Water, boiled and cold 
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)

Before you do anything else, get the kettle boiled. 

While boiling, slice your lemon and put it into your mug. Add some cold water, and then top up the mug with the boiling water. That way you can drink straight away without having to wait for it to cool down. Lastly, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into your mug along with the honey if you wish for a slightly sweeter taste. 

Apple cider vinegar is a great way to regulate your blood glucose levels, preventing sharp spikes and crashes in your energy levels mid-morning. It is also packed full of gut-friendly bacteria which in turn supports the gut microbiome. 

Days 5-8

As well as continuing with your morning mug of hot water and lemon, focus this week on participating in a gentle yoga or Pilates class. 

Pilates is focussed on the core and building strength in the body. Many physiotherapists work in conjunction with Pilates instructors, as together they help to restore normal movement without compensatory patterns becoming ingrained. Founded by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s, Pilates uses movement to challenge your core stability. 

Yoga works more on flexibility while also improving balance and strength. It dates back to over 5,000 years, with its roots grounded in Northern India. Yoga moves and holds your body in different positions helping you to become more fit and flexible, while improving your mind-body connection through controlled breathwork. 

A dynamic class is perfect for the morning to get the heart rate up, while a twilight yoga session is ideal for an evening. 

If you’re unable to attend a local class, we recommend trying Movement for Modern Life which hosts a range of yoga classes for various levels. For Pilates, why not try Maia Well Co. Here, there are a range of classes designed for different levels and abilities with the option of adding small equipment. 

Whichever form of exercise you choose, take it at your own pace. It’s about enjoyment and taking the time to connect with your body. 

Now you’ve started, schedule this time into your diary each week to ensure that you’re moving in a gentle way to help support your gut. Regular exercise increases the different kinds of microbial species in the gut, encouraging the good bacteria to flourish. 

Days 9-11

Now you’ve created two habits, let’s move on to habit three – making your very own green juice. 

A green juice is very effective for repairing “leaky gut”, a condition where there is increased permeability in the wall of the intestines. This means that more water and toxins can potentially “leak” through into the bloodstream. Many of us suffer from leaky gut without even realising it, but it is often associated with autoimmune diseases, diabetes, arthritis and coeliac disease. Getting into the habit of drinking a green juice every few days (to start with) is a great way of supporting your gut microbiome. And, the great news is, that it doesn’t have to be complicated to make!

The recipe

  • ½ cucumber
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 green apple
  • Handful of parsley

First, purchase all your ingredients and make sure you have a juicer! We recommend buying organic fruit and vegetables where you can, as this means that there are no pesticides used in the soil to keep the fruit and vegetables thriving. 

Next, give your ingredients a wash to remove any remaining soil (especially if you buy from a farm shop), and then simply pop them all into your juicer. 

Finally, pour your green juice into a nice cool glass with a few ice cubes. Drink and enjoy!

Days 11-14

Change your daily snack for a kefir or kombucha drink.

Kefir and kombucha are great probiotics. They are both fermented drinks, containing beneficial microorganisms that support gut health. In addition, they are great for supporting cardiovascular health. 

Kefir contains tryptophan, a precursor for serotonin that helps control your mood and sleep. It also contains millions of probiotics, vitamins and minerals that have been known to help improve cholesterol as well as regulate blood glucose levels. Kombucha on the other hand, is a great choice for vegans and those who prefer a water based drink. As a fermented food, it is full of probiotics to help increase and keep the gut microbiome healthy, while reducing bad bacteria. Both have also been shown to help reduce gut inflammation.

While kefir and kombucha can be made at home, they are also easily accessible from any supermarket. 

During these few days, be sure to add a fermented drink to your shopping cart. Rather than snacking on an afternoon treat, opt for this fermented drink instead to help support your gut. We recommend kefir products from The Collective Diary and kombucha products from and Remedy Kombucha, both available in all major supermarkets.

Remember to tag us in your challenge stories over on Instagram ‘@brainhealthnetwork. We can’t wait to see how you get on!

Your complete shopping list!

  • A juicer (we recommend a Sage juicer from John Lewis)
  • 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 slice of lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (optional)
  • ½ cucumber
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 green apple
  • Handful of parsley