5 steps to a healthy gut, according to probiotic farming pioneer William Chase

The man behind Willy’s Apple Cider Vinegar explains the digestive benefits of probiotics, pH balance and eating fermented foods…

Until 2015, William Chase was best-known for producing crisps, gin and vodka. And, while his snacks and spirits remain top-drawer delicacies — Tyrrells Crisps, GB Gin and Chase Vodka — these offerings are more indulgent than invigorating or nutritious. But his third entrepreneurial endeavour changed all that. And, when Chase launched Willy’s ACV, he brought the gut-bolstering benefits of apple cider vinegar into the mainstream.

And the probiotic farming pioneer, whose distillery and homestead can be found in Herefordshire, has personally been drinking doses of apple cider vinegar (ACV) for years — and seen incredible results. “After consistently taking a daily dose of ACV over the last few years,” he tells Gentleman’s Journal, “it has helped me to lose three stone, severely reduce my blood cholesterol, reduce symptoms of arthritis and give me a boost of natural energy”.

"It has helped me to severely reduce my blood cholesterol..."

The restorative results speak for themselves. But it’s no surprise. Recent years have seen health professionals and everymen alike develop a deeper interest in the science behind gut bacteria and digestive health. And Chase, who has pro-actively plugged himself and his businesses into this nourishing, natural world, has picked up a few tips along the way.

“It’s a massive area,” says Chase, “which is continually growing — as I’ve witnessed first hand with our own community. Our understanding, as a society, has developed a lot in the last ten years and I’m sure this will continue as more people take an active approach towards improving gut health”.

Tip #1: It pays to talk about your problems

Whether it’s a sit-down consultation with a gastroenterologist, or a simple discussion at home about what foods disagree with you, voicing your concerns or observations about gut health is key to sorting any problems. Suffering in silence helps no-one, and only when you start trying to solve the problem will the answer eventually present itself.

“The more people that talk about what causes problems to their gut microbiome and what they find can alleviate any symptoms, the better our understanding becomes,” advises Chase. “I’m constantly learning alongside Willy’s community, and I’m excited and inspired to see what the future brings for live gut healthy foods”.

Tip #2: Introduce probiotics into your daily diet

While no foods are beneficial to everyone, it’s a decent bet that probiotics will boost the effectiveness and efficiency of your digestive system. Whether it’s yogurt, miso, kefir or kombucha, these living microorganisms — which many call ‘beneficial bacteria’ — not only improve digestive health, but can also promote heart health and even reduce depression.

“The simplest way that I understand probiotics is that they are fermented cultures,” says Chase, “such as live yogurt or kombucha. They contain live bacteria that are great for gut health by restoring the natural balance”.

Tip #3: Learn to balance your body’s pH levels

And balance is important. Like any area of your life, moderation and stability will help your body settle into a routine that works — and a key part of this is balancing the pH levels in your gut. Your stomach is naturally acidic, so it’s important to incorporate alkaline foods into your diet, including leafy green vegetables, tofu, tempeh and nuts.

“I’ve actually been researching the importance of pH balance recently,” says Chase. “It’s important to ensure that you’re not consuming too much acid or alkaline to avoid heartburn, bloating, indigestion etc. I think that we will be hearing a lot more of food pH in the future”.

Tip #4: Try a daily dose of apple cider vinegar

Sometimes, supplementing your diet is the only way to achieve balance within your body. And, while Chase advises you steer clear of some aliments and additives — “I’m opposed to pills and potions and unproven fake remedies,” he says, “such as ACV gummies” — the farmer has been following the trials and tests surrounding apple cider vinegar for years. And he has been wholly convinced of its capabilities.

“ACV is a natural remedy that has been tried and tested,” says Chase. “I’m overwhelmed by all of the great reviews we’ve received in the past 12 months, in particular for our ‘Secret Sauce’ turmeric ACV. I believe in taking live ACV as a daily dose to improve gut health. As apples are one of the best antioxidants, with a low pH, this also makes our apple cider vinegar one of the best condiments to bring your food to life”.

Tip #5: Eat a ‘rainbow’ of foods to support your system

But there’s more. Adding a little apple cider vinegar to your daily routine may be the boost your digestive system needs — but the only way to maintain your newfound gut balance is to develop a diet focused around the right foods. And, as Chase explains, this extends beyond probiotics to incorporate vitamin-rich vegetables, and even certain spices.

“I’d say having a balanced diet of mixed herbs and spices such as turmeric, garlic, horseradish and ginger will help to benefit your gut health,” recommends Chase. “As well as eating the ‘rainbow’ and fermented both probiotic and prebiotics foods. Since starting Willy’s, the biggest enemy to our gut microbiome that I have discovered is the dangers of industrially processed foods and sugars”.

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