Got Anxiety Brain Fog Fatigue Improving Your Gut Health Could Be The Answer
Our gut health influences everything from our weight, to our mood, to our cognitive ability. It can be the reason for our back pain, the root of our depression, and of course, the cause of our digestive issues. That’s why testing the health of our gut and then healing our gut is absolutely essential for improving our mental and physical health.
Why I Want to Help You Heal Your Gut
I never thought much about my gut. I’m a psychologist and well-being expert, so I focus mostly on what you can do to boost well-being . But this all changed when my gut completely gave out on me. In the blink of an eye, I started getting nauseous, bloated, and belchy anytime I ate anything. I quickly dropped 15 pounds, became exhausted, and developed intense anxiety.
Had I thought more about my gut health, I could have seen the signs and prevented this nightmare. My gut had been screaming, “Pay attention to me!” for years by giving me new food allergies, migraines, and tummy troubles. These were all signs that my gut was unhealthy… I just didn’t realize it yet.
Why You Want to Heal the Gut Before You Get Sick
When my gut got mad at me, I had no idea what the problem was. It took me months to figure it out. Eventually I took the GI-MAP stool test and learned that I had a parasite called blastocystis hominis , which I likely picked up in Mexico a few years back. I also ate dairy , and lived in a moldy apartmentall things that contribute to poor gut health.
Try To Eat 30 Different Plants Each Week
The wider diversity of fiber-packed plants you eat, the happier and more diverse your gut microbiome will be.
Nuts, seeds, pulses, whole grains fruits, and veggies are all packed with nutrients that support a healthy gut. Garlic, onion, leeks, asparagus, and whole grains are packed with particularly special prebiotic fibers that “good” gut microbes love.
The good news is that increasing the variety and amount of plants in your diet doesnât have to be difficult, especially once you expand your idea of what counts as a plant-based food to include spices, herbs, nuts, and seeds.
For some inspiration, read this post with 10 tips for getting more plants into your diet.â
How To Get Better Gut Health
If you are wondering how to have good gut health, you arent alone. Gut health is definitely a hot topic lately, and its certainly something Im sure we are all familiar with but that doesnt mean we are actually paying attention to how to have good gut health. It also doesnt necessarily mean we are pursuing changing our daily habits and activities to achieve good gut health. I have been experiencing some stomach and gut issues the past couple months, ever since adding some carbs back into my diet, and this is MY personal reason for doing research into how to have good gut health- and why I want to make this a serious priority. Im happy to be a leader for you and share what Im learning along the way. Consider this post our introduction and get started chat. So lets do that, lets talk about how to have good gut health, shall we?
As I shared above, the primary reason I am making GUT HEALTH a priority in my life going forward is that ever since I added carbs back into my diet gained weight- which was predicted/expected but 2) also got BLOATING/GASSY FEELING AND TUMMY ACHES UGH!!
Im literally just at the beginning of this gut-health journey my friends, but I feel strongly its going to turn out fantastically. Im excited to try new recipes using new healthy foods and superfoodsand expand my horizons. Stay tuned for more and let me know what questions you have about Gut Health that I can answer in future posts in this series!
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But Wait There’s More
If you liked this post, youll probably want to check out: Healthy Gut Diet Plan: . How Much Fiber Do I Need? . How to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth and NOT Destroy Your Gut: . Grab my brand new KETO COOKBOOK with tons of healthy low carb recipes that helped me lose 36 inches and 30 LBS! . Want to lose weight with me? Sign up for my KETO BOOTCAMP
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The Gut Stuff By Lisa Mcfarlane
Before this book, Alana and Lisa McFarlane talked to a lot of scientists, academics, chefs, and foodies. Their new book is a great way to start taking control of your gut health. This book is full of information about pre and probiotics, common digestive problems, and practical advice for people who are just starting to learn about the gut. It’s also fun to read.
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Your Digestive System: 5 Ways To Support Gut Health
Digestive system problems such as heartburn, gas, bloating and constipation reflect whats happening throughout your body. As we age, the natural cycles slow down and dont work as well, says Johns Hopkins gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin, M.D.
The main drivers of gut health change are shifts in stomach acid, gut immunity and gastrointestinal florathe complex ecosystem of bacteria in your digestive system.
When gut health is good, he says, youre less likely to experience damaging inflammation and lapses in immunity.
The following ways to protect your digestive system may sound surprising because theyre not just about diet. Everything ties together, Mullin says.
Start Eating Bone Broth
I know, it may sound weird or gross if you are not familiar with bone broth. But believe me, bone broth tastes great and it is an incredibly nutrient dense food.
Homemade bone broth is chocked full of minerals, gut-soothing gelatin, and amino acids such as glycine and proline which provide several benefits to your skin and joints. Gelatin is thought to sooth the digestive track and improve nutrient absorption.
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Everything You Need To Know About Gut Health
Everyone knows that the gastrointestinal tract is important to your healthit transports food from your mouth to your stomach, converts it into absorbable nutrients and stored energy, and shuttles waste back out of your body.
In recent years, your gastrointestinal tract has been linked to numerous aspects of health, like emotional stress and chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes. We now know that the GI tract is full of trillions of bacteria that not only help us process food, but that also help our bodies maintain overall well-being.
The key to many health issues may lie in your gut , which is the bacteria and other microorganisms in the stomach and intestines. Studies have found that certain environments, foods and behaviors can influence gut health. Heres why that matters and what you can do to improve yours.
Fall In Love With Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi Fruit is an effective remedy for constipation and is extremely soothing and healing for the gastrointestinal tract. According to Monash University, approximately 1 in 7 people suffer from constipation. A 4-week study showed that eating 2 kiwi fruit per day over 4 weeks was an effective treatment to increase bowel motility. Kiwi fruit is high in soluble fibre and vitamin C as well as being low FODMAP.
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The Role Of Bacteria In Your Health
One of the most exciting and revolutionary topics in health right now is also one of the least sexy: Were talking about the bacteria that live in our digestive tractswhat science types call the gut microbiome. Our bodies play host to trillions of these critters, and they make up a mini-ecosystem that helps us break down the food we eat and absorb its nutrients. At least, thats all we thought the microbiome did.
What Affects Gut Health
The food you eat obviously plays a role in the bacterial makeup of your gut, but so do a lot of other factors, including the nature of your birth. Research shows that babies delivered vaginally grow up to have more diverse microbiomes than those delivered via C-section, thanks to the exposure they get to different bacteria as they pass through the birth canal. Breastfeeding has also been shown to foster beneficial gut bacteria.
The environment you grow up in matters too. We are way too clean of a society, says Hecht. More exposure to germs and bacteria, within reason, can strengthen our microbiomes. Go outside, dig in the dirt, play with animals its all good. These are things that will help establish a healthy gut.
Emotional stress can also affect gut bacteria. Scientists refer to the gut-brain axis, a pathway through which signals from the gut can affect neurotransmitters in the brain, and vice versa. Research is still early, but a persons microbiome and mental state appear to be able to influence each other to some extent.
Then, too, there is the role of medications, including over-the-counter painkillers and drugs used to treat acid reflux, diabetes and psychiatric conditions all have been linked to microbiome changes. But the best-known gut-altering drugs are antibiotics: though theyre prescribed to kill harmful bacteria, they can also wipe out bacteria of all kinds.
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How Can I Maintain My Gut Health
You dont have to know exactly whats going on in your gut at all times. And as long as youre following doctors orders for overall health, youre likely benefiting your microbiome. We tell people to follow a balanced diet, stay hydrated, exercise regularly and get a good nights sleep, says Menon, because we think staying healthy overall will help you maintain a healthy gut.
Similarly, the same habits that are bad for your heart, lungs and brainlike cigarette smoking and excessive alcohol intakecan also hurt the microbiome. Avoid taking unnecessary medications, says Hecht, and talk to your doctor about how your current drug regimen might affect your gut health.
Limiting dairy, red and processed meats, and refined sugars can also improve gut health. So can getting the recommended amount of fiber20 to 40 g a day, depending on your age and gender. Most Americans dont meet these guidelines, but you can increase your amount by adding fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds to your diet.
Menon recommends keeping a food diary to track fiber intake, as well as GI symptoms related to food. A sudden switch to high-fiber foods can cause bloating, so introduce them gradually and keep track of how your body reacts to anything new. Sometimes you can identify specific trigger foods that make you feel bad every time you eat them, says Menon, and you can find alternatives that work better for you.
Probiotics Will Change Your Life
Probiotics are the live microorganisms that reside in the gut. Probiotics support our immune system, aid digestion and assist with nutrient absorption into our bloodstream. Examples of foods that contain probiotics include kefir, pu erh tea, yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, Healthy Chef Gut Collagen and Healthy Chef Everyday Greens.
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What Can I Do To Heal My Gut Naturally
When it comes to healing your gut, youll have your own path to follow. Our microbiomes are as unique as our fingerprints, and they sit in a body made up of complex, interdependent systems we are only beginning to understand.
For you, tweaking your diet might be enough to get on top of your gut health. But someone else suffering the same symptoms may spend months or years exploring different approaches to solving their problem.
If your answers arent coming easily, look into testing, or try an elimination diet to identify which foods could be causing you problems. Our practitioners are on hand to guide you with either of these.
Importance Of A Healthy Gut
Your gut is the foundation of your health. Everything from your digestion to your mood ties back to your gut in some way. “We also know there is an important link between the health of the gut and our brain and hormones ,” says registered dietitian Maddie Pasquariello, M.S., R.D. “The GBA includes all of the connections between our central nervous system and our enteric nervous systemand these connections play a vital role in metabolism, immunity, and hormonal health.”
If your gut is out of whackmeaning the ratio of good bacteria to bad is offyou’ll feel it. Gut microbial abundance and diversity is critical for whole-body health.
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Dont Believe Everything You See Or Hear
You may have come across a range of different fads and trends all promising better gut health on your social media feeds. Try not to get sucked into everything you see across Instagram and Facebook. From colon cleanses to manuka honey remedies, nothing beats a varied wholefood diet.
Prioritising gut health shouldnt cost the earth and be wary of anyone selling expensive supplements which promise to instantly fix your gut. There are many cheap and easy recipes that are far more beneficial to your gut than anything sold on the internet.
To recap, if youre looking at how to improve your gut health, there are easy, cost effective ways you can do so. A good place to start is to action the following steps:
Gut Health Affects Your Whole Body
Your diet, what you’re putting into your body, what is going through your gut, so it has a direct impact on not just your gut microbiome, but also the integrity of your gut, says Camille Skoda, RDN, LD, a dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine. This we know now is being linked to so many different diseases, not just bowel disorders, but also things like anxiety and depression.
In a perfect world, we would eat whatever satisfied us and what we enjoyed. Our body would process the food as it passed through our gut, we would absorb the necessary nutrients, and what we dont need is eliminated through our bowel movements. However, we dont live in a perfect world and some foods can make us feel lousy, so many of us could probably adjust our diet in order to improve our gut health. This could reduce the risk of developing conditions directly related to the gut and elsewhere in the body.
Another important thing to remember is unless you are drastically ill and need to make major changes quickly, its best to move slowly with your diet adjustments. People who make sweeping and sudden changes may find it hard to continue with their new diet because its changing too much too fast.
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Why Is Gut Health Important
Everyones microbiome is unique, but there are a few generalities about whats healthy and whats not. In healthy people, there is a diverse array of organisms, says Dr. Gail Hecht, chair of the American Gastroenterological Association Center for Gut Microbiome Research & Education. In an unhealthy individual, theres much less diversity, and there seems to be an increase of bacteria we associate with disease.
Hecht stresses the word associate because scientists dont know for sure which comes firstwhether bacteria influence disease risk or whether existing disease influences gut bacteria. Most likely, she says, both are true. Were still lacking specific proof of how this connection works, but we know its there.
Some bacteria fight inflammation, while others promote it. When the gut works as it should, these two types keep each other in check. But when that delicate balance gets skewed, inflammatory bacteria can take overand they can produce metabolites that pass through the lining of the gut and into the bloodstream, spreading the inflammation to other parts of the body.
Specific types of bacteria in the gut can lead to other conditions as well. Studies in both animals and humans have linked some bacteria to lower immune function others to greater risk of asthma and allergies and still others to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and some cancers.
Only Take Antibiotics When Theyre Absolutely Necessary
Researchers at Stanford University screened more than 900,000 genetic samples from the stool of healthy men and women who took the antibiotic ciprofloxacin. They found that most of the gut microbiome returned to normal after four weeks, but that the numbers of some bacteria were still reduced six months later . In a subsequent study, they concluded that the full consequences of that course of antibiotics remain unknown. .
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