Gut Health and You (+ How to Help)
Hippocrates once said "All disease begins in the gut" and to his credit, he was right.
Your gut is responsible for almost everything when it comes to your health and wellbeing.
What is your gut exactly? Well, it's "your digestive, or gastrointestinal (GI), tract is a long, muscular tube that runs from your mouth to your anus. It’s about 30 feet long and works with other parts of your digestive system to break food and drink down into smaller molecules of nutrients. The blood absorbs these and carries them throughout the body for cells to use for energy, growth, and repair" (Source)
While we don't think too much about our gut health nay stomachaches or indigestion, the happiness, or really, the unhappiness of the gut can be a significant factor in health issues, weight/gain loss, energy and a host of other things.
When bad bacteria take over your gut, a host of issues can present as symptoms such as:
*Acne and/or Eczema *Headaches *Anxiety and/or Depression
*Diarrhea *Joint Pain * Fatigue
*Bloating *Craving Sweets *Weight changes
*Heart Burn * Bad sleep *Autoimmune Conditions
*Constipation *Low immunity * Brain fog
and this isn't even an exhaustive list!
There are many reasons that you could have an unhealthy gut. One of the top contenders is antibiotics which basically kill off the healthy gut bacteria and can cause some issues (one of the reasons why you don't feel well when on antibiotics)!
Another contender is what you eat and drink. Take a look at what you consume each day. If you're eating lots of nutritious foods, it's possible that you may have an intolerance to something. When we are allergic or have sensitivities that don't get addressed, they can come out in the body in a multitude of different ways.
Histamine intolerance's in the foods your eating can also cause a lot of symptoms. Foods let off differing amount of histamines and if you're sensitive, your body will react.
If you're eating a decent amount of sugar in the forms of actual sweets, breads, dairy and fruit, you may be feeding bad gut bacteria which will overpower the good stuff. In this case, you'll crave even more of these foods to continue its growth and reign within your gut.
Medications also make a difference in your gut health. Hormonal birth controls, NSAIDs, penicillin, sometimes even multivitamins.
I HAVE ALL THESE SYMPTOMS! WHAT TO DO?!
It's difficult to diagnose gut issues such as Candida (yeast overgrowth), leaky gut, Small Intenstinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) and others without actual testing however, you can work on fixing your gut bacteria on your own.
1. Eat whole, nutritious foods
Fill your plate with lots of vegetables, meats and healthy fats. Avoid eating sugar for the most part and try not to eat processed foods. While fruit can be good for you, if you are experiencing some gut imbalances, too much fructose isn't helpful. Try to limit it to 1-2 servings per day.
2. Drink a lot of water
Drinking lots of water helps aid in digestion, flushes out toxins and will make you feel good. Aim for about 1/2 your weight in ounces.
3. Pay attention to the way you feel after eating certain foods
If you're chronically bloated or swear your face breaks out eating certain things, pay attention to how you feel after eating certain things. If you're not having a severe allergic reaction, you may be reacting in another way that shows sensitivity.
Foods that people are often sensitive to include:
If you notice you are experiencing anything after eating, try eliminating the food for a few weeks then reintroduce it.
Stress can suppress your immune system and digestion. If you're chronically stressed, it may be causing you inflammation through your gut. Meditate, journal, take a nap: allow your body some relaxation time.
5. Take pre and/or probiotics or digestive enzymes.
Pre/Pro biotics fill the gut with some healthy enzymes to help break down and digest food properly. They feed healthy bacertia into the gut which helps get it working properly again. Try to pick the ones that need to be refrigerated (found at Whole Foods and many natural grocers). Digestive enzymes such as papaya enzymes help to break down your food more effectively to aid in digestion.
6. Add some collagen to your diet
Collagen is a miracle worker. Not only does it help your skin, nails, hair and add some good protein to your diet, it can also heal the gut lining! Collagen powders are tasteless and can easily be added to drinks, foods, anything! We like this one best.
7. See a doctor
Last but not least, it you are having lots of issues that could be related to your gut, it's important to see a doctor. Many gut disorders have similar symptoms but need to be treated in different ways. Request a stool or breath test to help figure out what the bacteria in your gut is doing. Functional medicine doctors are great at working through digestive issues naturally.
Start healing your gut today!
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