Updated: May 14, 2020
Your digestive tract is one of the most important parts of your body. It is comprised of many parts and is responsible for turning the food you eat into the nutrients that your cells use for energy. In fact, there is research that states the digestive system is responsible for not only gut health but brain and immune system health.
For example, Harvard Health states that the brain sends signals to the gut, good or bad, which influences how well our intestines work. Health 24 reports that 70-80 percent of our immune system is in our digestive tract. It is amazing how little we know about how the digestive tract influences other parts of our bodies.
So how do you know if the digestive system is not working for you? There are several signs, if you pay attention to them. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do you have low energy levels, brain fog and fatigue?
Do you get more than two colds per year?
Do you have sore, achy muscles and skin rashes?
Do you suffer from frequent gas, bloating, belching, diarrhea and constipation?
Do you feel that you are not as healthy or vibrant as other people your age?
If you answer yes to any of the above, then your digestive system is unhealthy. Do you want to get to the root cause of your symptoms? Do you want to heal your gut and get back to doing all the fun activities you've been missing out on? Not sure where to start? I am here to help!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching people just like you how to stop suffering from the embarrassing and debilitating effects of an unhealthy gut so you can get back to living. The TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK coaching call is a FREE 30 minute call where we will talk about your specific symptoms and start creating a plan on how to heal your gut using the Simply Great Gut Health program.
Simply Great Gut Health is a customized 5 Step plan that heals your gut and fits your busy lifestyle.
It’s very simple. No jumping through hoops and NO PRESSURE.
If we determine it’s not a fit, we’ll go our separate ways for now.
If it is a fit, we can take the next step and get you started on the path to healing your gut.
You can also join our email list by clicking here. You'll receive healthy living tips and gut friendly recipes for free. As a thank you for signing up, I'll send you the 5 Tips To Fight Bloating e-book for free!
So what can we do to create and ensure we have a healthy gut? There are three steps that we can do everyday to ensure our digestive system gets the nutrients and support it needs.
STEP 1: EAT VEGETABLES
That's right! This is so simple. You've always heard the adage "you are what you eat". It turns out that "you are what you can digest". There are so many healing properties when we eat a mostly plant-based diet. This doesn't mean you have to stop eating meat, chicken or fish 100%. It simply means that the majority of what we eat is vegetables and meat, chicken or fish becomes much less important to our daily meals.
Now, one of the tricky things about eating more vegetables when you are experiencing gut health issues is to find the vegetables that work for you. Just because vegetables are better than eating a lot of meat doesn't mean all vegetables are right for you. Each of our bodies are different and react to foods differently. Just because I can eat broccoli without any issues doesn't mean you can.
So what can you do if you are experiencing gut health issues but want to eat more vegetables? There are two things to try. One of them is to take an at-home food allergy test. You can buy one at EverlyWell or The Great Plains Laboratory. The tests identify 96 foods that someone can either be allergic to or be sensitive. If you take the test, it is the fastest way to find out what foods you should not be eating.
Second, you can follow the Low FodMap diet. FodMap's are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly digested by the body. They ferment in the large intestine (bowel) during digestion, drawing in water and producing carbon dioxide, hydrogen, and methane gas that causes the intestine to expand. This causes GI symptoms such as bloating and pain that are common in disorders like IBS. (Source: Medicine Net)
The key with the Low FodMap diet is to pay attention to how you feel once you eliminate foods that are high in FodMap's. If your symptoms start to alleviate, you may have to follow this type of lifestyle for the foreseeable future. If your symptoms still don't subside, you may need to work with a Holistic Nutritionist to get to the root cause of your digestive issues.
STEP 2: STAY AWAY FROM FATS, SUGAR AND ALCOHOL
Staying away from saturated fats, processed foods, sugar and alcohol can significantly help heal the gut. There are so many easy solutions these days eat healthy. You could invest in a food delivery service or learn how easy it is to cook healthy foods. There are products such as Seeds of Change that are organic, whole grains that are ready in 90 seconds.
Cooking fresh vegetables takes no more than 7-8 minutes to cook them al dente style, which helps to retain the nutrients contained in the vegetables. By retaining the nutrients, they are more available for our cells to access them. If you are unsure of how to cook vegetables simply, try the website: The World's Healthiest Foods for quick tips, recipes and how to shop at the grocery store.
Sugar has become a hot topic with even the US Government legislating that companies make food labels easier to understand when sugar has been added. Sugar and sugar substitutes encourage bad bacteria to grow in your gut which would affect your metabolism and immune system responses. (Source: Mind Body Green) Alcohol, which is full of sugar, should be limited to small amounts with dinner.
STEP 3: ADOPT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Exercise is key to keeping your digestive system working optimally. It can help you avoid constipation and promote healthy digestion even when you are relaxing. Getting exercise does not mean you have to belong to an expensive gym. YouTube has a lot of free resources that can get your heart pumping. If you need something low impact, you can find classes like that as well.
There are also a lot of other ways to get exercise everyday. Walking is one of my favorite ways to get the body moving. Take a walk around your neighborhood. If you are going shopping, park the car far away and walk to the store. Weather not so good? Find an indoor mall to walk around before the stores open. Getting regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, running, or cycling keeps your blood pumping and massages your abdominal muscles to keep things moving.
Another way to live a healthy lifestyle is to take vitamins. Vitamins and supplements help support your digestive system by giving larger doses of key nutrients that we may not get from our food. The digestive tract thrives on good bacteria. Taking a probiotic everyday can help the gut keep a healthy population of good bacteria in balance. When the gut has enough good bacteria, it can fight pathogens that come along. Plus, 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Keeping the gut healthy helps promote a strong immune system.
By following these three steps, you can help support a healthy digestive system. Don't think you have to do all three immediately. Try one of the above for three days over the next couple of weeks. As you get used to doing that step, add another day and then another until the new behavior is just part of your normal routine. Then you can add another step. It only takes 21 days to create a new habit. If you start slowly, you are more likely to stick to the new habit.
Do you think you will try one of the three steps above? Let me know by leaving me a comment below.