Trust your gut, sometimes the body knows what the mind won’t acknowledge. I love this saying. It really hits home for me because I truly believe that the gut is the center of our health. I think everyone would benefit from healing their gut. Our gut is affected by stress, processed foods, alcohol and environmental toxins. Because our lives generally involve all four of these, everyone’s guts are screaming out for help. We have compromised digestive systems that cannot do their job which means we aren’t getting the nutrients we need from our foods.
Have you ever heard of the gut being referred to as the second brain of the body? This is so true. So many things happen in your gut. The feel good hormone (serotonin) is made in our gut. So if you’re experiencing low or depressed moods – fix your gut! Our immune system is also central to the gut. So if you get every winter cold or flu – fix your gut! If you’re constantly tired or distracted no matter how much you rest – fix your gut! If you have any gut issues such as diarrhea, constipation, flatulence, reflux or experience bloating – fix your gut! If you are constantly fighting cravings, it’s your body’s way of asking for fuel (protein), but if you’re eating the right meals and still experience cravings maybe your body isn’t digesting the nutrients it needs – fix your gut! If you’re deficient in particular nutrients but generally eat healthy balanced meals – fix your gut! If you’re experiencing hormonal imbalance – fix your gut!
My top tips for fixing your gut are:
- Eat wholefoods – these are foods in their natural form (or very close to their natural form). Wholefoods are the easiest foods for your gut to digest because your body knows exactly what they are. Your body does not know what additives, colours, artificial flavours and enhances are. Therefore, they are very hard for your gut to digest properly.
- Stress less – practice meditation, yoga or take a hot bath. Do whatever feels relaxing for your body. You need to incorporate a stress busting exercise into your every day. Even if it’s only a 15 minute meditation or bath, it’s better than nothing. The digestion system shuts down or is compromised in times of stress because blood is diverted away from the gut to other areas of the body (particularly arms and legs – our primal bodies think we need to run from a wild animal) as a response to stress.
- Take a daily probiotic (good bacteria) supplement and eat lots of foods rich in probiotics such as yoghurt, sauerkraut, miso soup, kefir and tempeh. We also need to provide food to the good bacteria once they are in our guts, that’s why it’s also important to eat prebiotic foods to feed the good bacteria. Asparagus, bananas, artichokes and legumes are great prebiotic foods.
- Eat in a relaxed, stress free environment. As I mentioned before. Your body diverts blood away from the digestive system when stressed.
- Chew your food really well. The less work the gut has to do digesting, the more energy we have!
- Warm water and fresh lemon juice on rising stimulates gastric juices but don’t drink with your meals as the liquid will dilute the gastric juices which are essential for digestion.
- Warm water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar stimulates hydrochloric acid which is needed for digestion.
- A nutritionist or naturopath could help with supplements.
- The protein found in gluten is hard to digest so maybe think about cutting back your gluten intake.
- Eat plenty of fibre (leafy greens) to keep the bowels moving.
Do you agree with me? Has fixing your gut given you more energy, better moods and greater health? Do you have any more gut health tips to share with us?