Ami Sheward

What is ‘Gut Health’ and why is it important?

Did you know that your gut health has a direct impact on the rest of your body? The gastrointestinal system serves as a communication hub and a disease fighter in addition to being the major “portal” for taking in and processing nutrients. A healthy gut is important for your overall health, from your nervous and immune systems to your mental health and digestive function.

However, when we talk about gut health, we’re really talking about the bacteria in the microbiome, and the vast majority of the  “microbiome magic” takes place in your large intestine.

Think of the microbiome as the environment inside the large intestine, specifically the trillions of bacteria that live there. In fact, there are more bacteria in your gut than there are stars in the Milky Way.

The good bacteria feeds on fibre, including both soluble and insoluble fibre in our diets. The bad bacteria feed on elements in simple sugars and processed foods. So, while some of these bacteria are harmful to our health and others are beneficial, they both need to be there.

Ami Sheward tossing a salad in a white plate
Ami pouring a green drink

Healthy Gut Benefits

1. Improved your immunity

2. Weight management

3. Improved mood

4. Better sleep

5. Healthy bones

Tips to improve your gut health?


  • Include prebiotic foods in your diet. These are foods like asparagus, bananas, oats, onions, legumes, and many more.
  • Eat more probiotics because these increase the number of good bacteria in your gut. Recommended foods include tempeh, kefir, kimchi, and yogurt. These are fermented foods that will get your gut healthy.
  • Get enough sleep. The length and quality of your sleep are important to keep your gut bacteria healthy and happy.
  • Eat polyphenol-rich foods. Excellent sources are green tea, dark chocolate, red wine, and blueberries.
  • Reduce stress through deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, and constant physical activity.
  • Avoid unhealthy food such as fried foods, artificial sugar and be mindful of too much fibre, beans, fructose-rich foods, and spicy foods.
  • Be mindful of eating take your time when eating your meals, chew your food.
nuts apple cavalo nero on a chopping board_crop
image of cavalo nero lemons chard beetroot

What are the signs of gut health problems?


    • Bloating
    • Brain fog
    • Fatigue
    • Abdominal pain
    • Loose stools/Constipation
    • Heartburn
    • Food intolerances/sensitivities
    • Low mood
    • Low energy
    • Skin issues
    • Anxiety
    • Weight gain
    • Headaches

Things you can do for your gut health


    • Eat fibre-rich foods
    • Eat a diverse range of foods
    • Lower your stress levels
    • Get enough sleep
    • Eat slowly
    • Stay hydrated
    • Eat prebiotic and probiotic rich foods
Ami sitting at the table with veg

What causes poor gut health?

An important thing to remember about the gut is that balance is key. A healthy balance should be maintained in the microbiome to prevent dysbiosis.

Dysbiosis happens when too many harmful bacteria invade the gut flora, and there are not enough beneficial bacteria to balance it out. Simply put, dysbiosis is an imbalance. When this happens, an unhealthy gut occurs.

Having a diverse diet means eating a wide variety of nutritious foods. This includes a good balance of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This will result in a more diverse microbiome.

The food that you eat provides the bacteria in your gut with sufficient nutrients for them to grow. Having a diverse range of foods in your diet will offer a diverse range of nutrients. This results in a healthier, more diverse gut flora.

When taken in consistently large amounts, alcohol becomes highly toxic.

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections and have saved millions of lives. They work by killing harmful bacteria or preventing them from multiplying.

However, antibiotics affect both good and bad bacteria.

Antibiotic treatment has been shown to cause harmful changes in the gut flora. This alters the microbiomes diversity and causes a disruption in the normal balance of bacteria.

A sedentary lifestyle, or an inactive lifestyle, is defined as a lifestyle that involves a lot of sitting, lying down, and with very little activity.

Some research has shown that physical activity has a positive impact on gut bacteria. It improves gut health by increasing butyrate-producing bacteriaButyrate is a short-chain fatty acid that promotes good overall health and wellness.

Just like your body’s sleep-wake cycle, your gut has its rhythm, too. Disrupting this rhythm through shift work, lack of sleep, or eating late into the night may have damaging effects on the bacteria in your gut.

Research has shown an increase in the number of bacteria linked with:

  • fat metabolism
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • weight gain

Overall health isn’t just about having the proper diet, consistent physical activity, and sufficient sleep. Being unable to manage your stress level properly can have detrimental effects on the body.

In the gut microbiome, stress alters the normal balance of good and bad bacteria. It also reduces blood flow, and increases sensitivity to the gut.

Ami Sheward

I have always been a foodie who loves to cook and share meals with friends and family, but my interest in nutrition grew when I was diagnosed with asthma in my early 40s, shortly after relocating to Cheltenham. I was continuously troubled with chest infections and fatigue, which would always result in endless inhalers and steroids.

I reasoned that there had to be something else I could do to help myself in addition to conventional medication. I began by researching nutrition and how it may benefit me, but I enjoyed the process so much that I decided to pursue a career as a Nutritional Therapist. I focused on the root cause of my asthma and am now able to manage it without the use of medication. 

Ami Sheward Nutrition’s mission is to provide tailor-made solutions to your nutritional and dietary needs, which are as unique as your. The focus being upon the whole person and addressing the root cause of ill health through a food first approach.

Ami Sheward sitting on a sofa with a drink in a mug

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