Did you know that the combined weight of the resident microbes in your gut is about the same as your brain? That’s around one kilogram – made up of 1,000 different species of bacteria and microorganisms – all working together to keep you healthy.
The link between gut health and mood has been known for some time. In fact, the idea that “all disease originates in the gut” goes way back to the 5th century BC and is attributed to the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates. However, it’s only in recent years that researchers are really beginning to understand how much of an impact a healthy digestive system can have on your general wellbeing.
It was a routine visit to her GP and a conversation about the link between diet and candida that triggered DR ELIZABETH BIGGS’ interest in gut health and integrative medicine. While it was a far cry from what her medical training had taught her two decades ago, she realised that the research made sense and it was, well, time to go with her gut. Together, she and her friend VICTORIA MCKELLAR founded Akesi, a wellness brand with a product range of bio-fermented tonics designed to promote gut health and wellbeing.
“We both really wanted to create a health and wellness brand that people could identify with, and provide a platform to educate people in the area of fermentation and probiotics for the good of their gut health and overall wellbeing,” explains Victoria. “Our tonics are more affordable and of a superior quality than commercial kombucha-type options available, and they certainly save time on home fermenting!” The natural bio-fermentation process also means they are more easily absorbed by the body so they can get on and do their job: assisting in digestion, supporting the immune system and helping regulate bowel movements.
So, who should take them? “Our turmeric with ginger and black pepper tonic and our papaya leaf with papaya and pomegranate tonic are perfect for adults (or older children) looking to replace and nourish their gut bacteria in an easy, food-oriented way,” says Victoria. “The turmeric tonic is high in anti-inflammatory properties, making it fabulous for those who exercise regularly or suffer from inflammation. The papaya leaf tonic is rich in plant phytonutrients and great for anyone suffering from general poor health.
“I have my turmeric tonic as a shot on waking. It’s a great kick-start to my digestive system, whereas I savour my papaya leaf tonic mixed into sparkling water in the early evening.”
Want to improve your overall gut health? Victoria and Elizabeth recommend:
- Combining a shot of apple cider vinegar with Akesi Turmeric Tonic on waking.
- Consciously adding fibre to every meal, especially at breakfast.
- Eating the rainbow!
- Incorporating more fermented foods into your diet – try stirring sauerkraut through your salad or cooking with bone broth.
- Reducing your sugar intake and limiting processed and refined foods.
- Only drinking water… or an Akesi berry spritzer or papaya leaf tonic, of course!
- Cutting out anti-bacterial products from your laundry and bathroom, including hand sanitisers – warm soapy water will suffice!
- Seeking out green spaces whenever you can, and making a conscious effort to plan a more outdoor lifestyle.
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This article first appeared in the January 2019 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!