It can be easy to ignore the rumblings and grumblings in your tummy – after all, it’s hardly the most glamorous part of your body. But did you realise that 70% of your immune system is in there? Over the past 10 years, Gut Week has prompted thousands of Irish folk to access the campaign’s advice resources for further information.
Dr Linda Thomas, Science Director for Yakult in the UK & Ireland, said: “We are sometimes reluctant to talk about our gut problems. With Gut Week, we are trying to break down the poo taboo and get people to talk more openly about digestive problems.”
Gut Week, which runs from August 31 to September 6 2015, is about encouraging Irish people to Love Your Gut and get people talking more openly about one of Ireland’s most common conditions. Thousands of us experience digestive problems – from bloating and constipation to indigestion and irregular bowel movements – and yet suffer in silence.! Not good!
This on-going campaign is committed to improving the nation’s gut health. It is an initiative of the Irish Practice Nurses Association (IPNA), the Irish Society for Colitis & Crohn’s Disease (ISCC), the Irish Nutrition & Dietetic Institute (INDI) and Gastroenterology Interest Group [GIG] of the INDI – supported by Yakult Ireland.
Tricia McArdle Chairperson of the Irish Society for Colitis and Crohns Disease said it was important people felt comfortable talking about bowel health.
“Reports worryingly show that patients living with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Colitis and Crohn’s disease, suffer from distress, anxiety and fear,’ she said. ‘Gut Week aims to increase awareness and break the stigma of talking about these life altering conditions and digestive health in general,” she said.
Ruth Morrow PRO of the Irish Practice Nurse Association added: “We hope [Gut Week] will encourage everyone to be more aware of their gut health and seek help straight away if they notice something is wrong. Practice nurses are especially keen for people to overcome any embarrassment they feel when discussing their bowel habits so that there is no unnecessary delay in the diagnosis of treatable conditions. Let’s make the ‘Poo Taboo’ a thing of the past!”
So how can we love our guts?
Many Irish people who suffer from gut symptoms are sensitive to the food that they eat. So eating well is not just a matter of eating a balanced, healthy diet, it also involves being aware of foods that may normally irritate a sensitive gut.
Here is summary of the best foods for better bowel health:
- Natural probiotics, which boost the digestive system.
- Flaxseeds help to reduce constipation and encourage healthy bowel movements.
- Raw garlic and onion are a good source of prebiotics, which can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
- Spinach is a fantastic source of vitamin A and also provides zinc – both of which are essential for maintaining a healthy gut lining.
- Oats are full of fibre and help to move waste along the digestive system and prevents constipation.
Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Yakult to mark Gut Week has revealed some interesting statistics!
Almost 38% of employees admit to using toilet time as a break from work. Looking at this by gender, males appear more likely to use toilet breaks as breaks from work than their female counterparts. While younger age groups are more likely to be found using toilet time as a break from their work. Alarmingly, 1 in 3 Irish adults admit to checking their emails or Facebook while on the loo. Now that’s multi-tasking! Other activities include making phone calls, checking Twitter and playing Candy Crush.
Currently, 7 out of 10 Irish adults have suffered from a chronic or persistent gut health problem, the most common being constipation (37%), diarrhoea (34%) and indigestion (32%).
Although it would appear that no specific demographic is more at risk of suffering from a chronic or persistent gut health problem, females are more likely to have suffered from constipation (44%), abdominal pain (33%), gas/excessive flatulence (29%) or IBS (18%) than males. Moreover, of those who suffer from gut health problems, almost two-thirds (63%) have admitted to having bowel problems to their GP. This was followed by close family members such as partners (43%) and parents (26%), while 1 in 5 sufferers (20%) have not talked to anyone about their bowel problems.
So it turns out there is truth behind those ‘gut feelings!
For more information about the LOVE YOUR GUT Campaign, including expert advice and tips, interactive quizzes and games and the latest gut-friendly recipes, check out www.gutweek.ie and Twitter on #loveyourgut.