I never knew I had an unhealthy gut until I started studying holistic nutrition. My entire life I lived with constipation, bloating, farting and gurgling without knowing that something wasn't right. I was told as I was growing up that everybody's schedule for having a bowel movement was different. It's perfectly normal not to have a bowel movement for 3 days and then struggle for what seemed like forever to finally go. I was taught to read on the toilet and simply wait for it to happen. Boy, was that the wrong advice!
Do you know how often should you have a bowel movement? At least once every single day! Every day! As I studied holistic nutrition, I made changes to my lifestyle and started having a bowel movement everyday. Now, when I don't have at least one a day, I start thinking about what I ate, drank and what I did not to have one! Honestly, it is the best feeling to get rid of the waste in my body everyday.
That is exactly what poop is! Waste! If we aren't eliminating it from our body, do you know what happens? The waste sits in our colon and starts to ferment. Bad bacteria gathers in the colon and starts to work its way back into the body. The bad bacteria can overcome the good bacteria and create illness and disease. But bowel movements are only one sign that the gut is either healthy or unhealthy.
Do you want to stop the...
👉Diarrhea and/or constipation
👉Bloating and gas
👉Congestion, coughing, wheezing
👉Brain fog, difficulty recalling words, short term memory issues
👉Headaches and migraines
👉Acne and itchy skin
👉Tired all the time
👉Sensitivity to fragrances and chemicals
If you said yes to just one of the above, your body is telling you something is not right with your gut. Discovering the root cause to be free from pain can be confusing and hard! I am here to help.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Health Coach obsessed with teaching people just like you how to eliminate your symptoms so you can stop suffering and get back to living!
I offer a FREE 30 minute strategy session where we will talk about your specific symptoms and how the Simply Great Health program can help.
How would eliminating your symptoms improve your life? You could:
✅Be more present with your children
✅Focus at work
✅Have more energy
✅Stop running to the bathroom
✅Restore your confidence
✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Reduce the risk of chronic disease
Simply Great Health is a science based, personalized 5 Step plan that heals your body 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.
HOW TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH
The gut is a complex system that requires a balance of food, sometimes supplements, movement, hydration and relaxation to be healthy. My gut health problems were all of the above, except supplements. I learned what supplements I needed several years ago. But lets start with the basics.
I ate the standard American diet when I was growing up and until my mid-thirties. Like most people, I never thought about my health. If my doctor wasn't telling me something was wrong, I figured I was doing just fine. Also like most people, I never complained to my doctor about the constipation. I grew up that way so I didn't know any better. But my GP never asked me about it either.
FOODS THAT HEAL THE GUT
Food is the easiest way to start restoring your gut health. Eating foods high in fiber is the first change that most of us need to make for better gut health. Did you know on average, American adults eat 10 to 15 grams of total fiber per day, while the USDA's recommended daily amount for adults up to age 50 is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Women and men older than 50 should have 21 and 30 daily grams, respectively. (Source: Harvard Health)
You may think you are eating enough fiber, but the above shows you aren't. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and beans provide the most fiber. We need to eat at least 7 to 9 servings a day. This may sound scary but it isn't. A medium apple is one serving of fruit. You can use the size of your palm to figure out a serving of fiber rich foods. Above all, eating fiber rich foods instead of processed foods will help the gut heal.
A few ideas about how to get more fiber into your day:
Eat sautéed veggies (with or without an egg) for breakfast
Snack on an apple with nut butter or hummus with carrots and celery
Add berries and nuts to salads
Make vegetable soups
A healthy gut needs hydration. Why? Fiber not only fills us up but is responsible for absorbing water into the digestive system in order to move waste into the colon and out of the body. Not drinking enough water results in constipation, regardless of the amount of fiber we eat. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces everyday to be well hydrated. Especially if you increase the amount of fiber you eat.
A great way to start the day with hydration and supporting the gut is to drink warm water with half a lemon squeezed into it. Why? Warm water is less harsh when we first wake up and are dehydrated. Also, the lemon provides much needed acid to the digestive system helping it to be prepared for the day. Lemons can be harsh on tooth enamel, so use a straw or rinse your mouth with warm water and spit after drinking.
Digestion is a very intense process. As we age, the acid in our stomach gradually reduces. We need acid to digest food. If you are belching, have heartburn, are bloated or gassy after eating, one reason is the lack of acid in your digestive system to breakdown food. Most people will reach for an over the counter product to stop the symptoms. This is the worst thing you can do! Using one of those products kills whatever acid is left in your stomach, making you dependent on the product until something more severe happens.
Our body was never made to be sedentary for long periods of time. Sitting at a desk, in a car, train, plane or bus sets us up for poor digestive health. Exercise helps stimulate the intestines to contract, helping stool to move through the colon. When stool spends less time in the colon, there is less bloating, gas and constipation. Also, being active improves posture which helps eliminate the chance of acid reflux.
It doesn't matter what you do to be active and move your body. Doing something for at least 30 minutes most days will help. You could walk for 15 minutes during a lunch break and then again after dinner. You could ride a bike. It doesn't have to be strenuous movement to support a healthy gut.
While increasing the amount of fiber is a great start, fermented foods are great to add to your gut health routine. Kimchi and sauerkraut are easy to find in grocery stores. Kimchi is cabbage that has been pickled with spices. Kimchi can be served as a side dish with a meal or as the main dish. Is kimchi good for you? Yes! Kimchi is low in calories and contains probiotics. If you are dairy free and don't care for non-dairy yogurts, kimchi is the perfect solution. Does kimchi go bad? It will keep for 3-6 months in the refrigerator but as it ages, it will continue to get sour. So if you like it less sour, eat it before 3 months.
Is sauerkraut healthy? Yes! Sauerkraut also provides probotics and is low calorie making it another great option to get a healthy dose of bacteria from food. Kimchi however is higher in probiotics so it is better for your gut health. How do you eat sauerkraut and kimchi? They are great mixed with steamed potatoes or in potato salad. Use either one in egg salad, mixed in with rice, put on top of a grain bowl or added to soups. Both are very versatile.
BEST GUT HEALTH SUPPLEMENT
There are many supplements to support good gut health. To find the best supplement for you, working with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist can help. A Certified Holistic Nutritionist will discuss your health goals and symptoms with you to determine the best gut health supplement. Below are some of the most popular supplements for gut health.
Probiotic. A probiotic that contains the genus Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium is a great way to support general gut health. We need good bacteria to help fight pathogens and illness in the body. Make sure to take the probiotic before going to sleep for maximum benefit.
L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is an amino acid found naturally in our body. It is needed by the gut to fuel the intestinal cells and to keep the connections in the intestines strong. (Source: Healthline) It is found in eggs, white rice, tofu, beef, skim milk and corn. As a supplement you can take 500 mg - 1,500 mg daily depending on your situation.
Turmeric. Turmeric is a spice that has been traditionally used as a digestive healing agent. You may have heard about cooking with turmeric or drinking it but to get therapeutic amounts, taking a supplement daily is better. It is hard to get the benefits from simply eating or drinking turmeric. Take 500 mg a day for gut support.
It doesn't take long for the gut to heal. Having a routine that supports good gut health by eating fruits, vegetables and fermented foods, staying hydrated, moving your body regularly and maybe taking supplements will keep your gut healthy and strong.
Do you have a gut healthy routine? Let me know by leaving a comment below.