The gut is the most important system in the body. It controls how we feel, how often we get colds, flu's and viruses, our weight, blood sugar levels, how often we have bowel movements and if we have a food allergy or sensitivity. This list is just a small example of how the health of our gut controls the health of the rest of our body.
Unfortunately, we don't often think of the gut as the cause of an illness or poor health. The only time we think of the health of our gut is when we experience a very specific symptom such as vomiting or a stomachache. It can be very easy to achieve good health by paying attention to our gut.
Before I share healthy habits for good gut health, let's look at how an unhealthy gut creates illness and disease.
#1 FREQUENT COLDS, FLU'S and VIRUSES
Did you know 70% of our immune system is in our gut? We often think of the immune system as a unique system in the body. But it is very much dependent on the health of our gut.
The gut helps the immune system by providing an anti-infectious barrier to fight against infections. When the gut is unhealthy due to eating processed foods, not enough fruits, vegetables and whole grains, it is easier to get sick. The anti-infectious barrier is weakened when we don't take care of our bodies. (Source: Frontiers In)
#2 ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
Do you suffer from anxiety and/or depression? Turns out an unhealthy gut is the reason why you feel anxious or depressed. There is a gut-brain communication highway in our bodies. Discovered only 20 years ago, we are still working on why this connection exists.
One thing we know for sure, if we aren't eating gut healthy foods, our gut cannot create serotonin. Serotonin is the feel good chemical in our body and 90% of it is produced in the gut. Serotonin production requires the amino acid tryptophan. The following foods are high in tryptophan: nuts, oatmeal, salmon, turkey, seeds and yogurt.
You may not think about your gut health if you suffer from migraines but you should! Migraines are very common with 12% of the US population suffering from them. (Source: Migraine Research Foundation) Research shows that migraines are common if a person has IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Celiac Disease and Helicobacter pylori. (Source: The Journal of Headache and Pain)
Healing from IBS, Celiac disease and Helicobacter pylori is possible! Working with a Certified Holistic Nutritionist provides a unique solution that fits your lifestyle and gets to the root of your illness.
#4 THYROID DISEASE
There is a link between thyroid disease and an unhealthy gut. When the bacteria in our gut is not balanced, the gut influences the availability of essential micronutrients for the thyroid gland. The thyroid is dependent on zinc, selenium, iodine, copper and iron. Research shows when thyroid function is abnormal people are usually deficient in these micronutrients. (Source: NIH)
#5 SKIN CONDITIONS
Do you have acne or eczema or other skin conditions? You can blame your gut for these skin conditions. Research shows that the bacteria in our gut can be shared directly with the skin. When the good gut bacteria is not balanced, it aggravates the skin resulting in acne, eczema or other skin conditions.
Eating a lot of saturated fat, dairy and processed foods disturbs the gut bacteria and causes inflammation in the gut. The gut shares the inflammation with the skin. Changing the diet can often reduce skin conditions.
Do you suffer from any of the illness or diseases listed above? If so, your gut is unhealthy. But there are other symptoms. Bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, memory problems, abdominal pain, feeling tired all the time and weight gain are also signs your body is telling you something is not right.
The only way to get healthy is to get to the root cause and solve it with healthy habits that fit your lifestyle. It can be hard and confusing to figure out the root cause. I am here to help!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist obsessed with teaching people just like you how to heal their gut 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
✅Workout without fear of an accident or farting
✅Restore your confidence
✅Be able to cook healthy meals for you and your family
✅Take an active vacation
✅Reclaim your life!
Simply Great Health is a customized 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.
HEALTHY HABITS TO HEAL THE GUT
#1 ELIMINATE FOOD SENSITIVITIES AND ALLERGIES
Eating foods that the body views as an enemy only weakens the gut. Food allergies and sensitivities are very prevalent. The problem is trying to figure out what foods to stop eating.
You can take at home food allergy tests. Companies such as Everly Well and The Great Plains Laboratory sell easy to take at home tests that identify at a minimum 96 foods that you may have sensitivities or allergies. Eliminating these foods can start to restore the bacteria in your gut.
#2 DRINK MORE WATER
A lot more water! We are dehydrated every single day. A healthy gut requires our bodies to be hydrated. The rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces every single day.
Don't like the taste of water? Herbal tea without sugar or sweeteners counts toward your daily water intake. Plus, herbal tea has so many other health benefits including restoring an unhealthy gut. Drinking ginger, peppermint, fennel or dandelion tea helps the gut stay healthy.
#3 EAT MOSTLY PLANT BASED
You don't have to become vegetarian or vegan, unless you want to, for a healthy gut. All you need to do is to eat more plant based foods. Fruits and vegetables have the nutrients and fiber your gut needs to be healthy.
Eating plant based is a flexible approach to changing your eating habits. Maybe you can eat meat only at dinner. Maybe you decide to have one day a week without eating any meat. Maybe you have multiple days where you don't eat meat. The choice is yours.
I don't eat meat 4 days a week. The other 3 days, I will eat chicken, fish or meat. The way I eat has changed over the years. I started with just one day a week not eating meat. Years later I am at 4 days a week.
To make this change start slowly. One meal at a time. You will be amazed how good you feel as you cut back on animal products and eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. One action you have to be mindful of is to drink more water when you move to eating less meat. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain a lot of fiber. To avoid constipation, water helps the body eliminate waste easily.
Stress is very bad for our gut. As I mentioned earlier, our feel good chemical serotonin is produced in the gut. Stress has been shown to alter the good bacteria in our gut. In 2013, the scientific community began to study the effects bacteria have on our mental health. (Source: NIH)
Relaxing is the best way to keep the gut healthy. In fact, when we relax the digestive system is activated. When the digestive system is active, it helps good bacteria do its job of keeping us healthy. (Source: BYU)
Relaxing means different things to different people. Meditation, taking a walk in nature, reading a book or soaking in a tub are all ways to relax. Find what works for you and do it often!
I hope you enjoyed learning more about how critical our gut health is to our overall health. Illness and disease are promoted in our body when out gut is unhealthy. No one is immune to an unhealthy gut.
How and what we eat plays a large role in the health of our gut. Eating processed foods, a lot of animal products and foods we are sensitive or allergic to harms the gut. Eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains promotes a healthy gut.
Do you have an unhealthy gut? Let me know by leaving a comment below.