Ignite Your Health

Simple Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

It’s important to improve your gut health to truly ignite your health. A happy gut leads to a strong immune system, clearer thinking, and a slimmer body since all systems are functioning well.

Plus, you’ll be happier. Did you know that 90% of serotonin is produced in your gut? That’s the feel-good hormone. So if you’re kind of blue, it may be directly related to your diet.

What Is My Gut and What Does It Do?

I talked a little about gut health and its importance in my blogs on probiotics and on detoxing.

Your gut is the digestive system going from your teeth to your bottom. It’s purpose is to process food and pulling out the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, water, and electrolytes that are required for our life.

A healthy gut is also able to protect the body from harmful material.

The Good Gut Bacteria

Usually we think of bacteria as something bad, but there’s good bacteria as well. If you love a good bit of Stilton, you can thank bacteria.

Your good gut bacteria is often called microbiota or flora. And you have about 40 trillion of these things inside your stomach and intestines.

And did you know that our gut microbiomes are like fingerprints?

Yes, flora is actually made up of fungi, bacteria, and other single-celled organisms, but bacteria vastly outnumbers, and I wanted to keep this simple. So I’m going to call all of them gut flora or good bacteria.

There are different varieties of bacteria in your gut. And it’s important to keep them in balance.

They can get out of balance when you’re under a lot of stress, not eating properly, or have taken medicine such as antibiotics.

Unhappy woman holding her gut with one hand and a roll of toilet paper in another

What Are the Symptoms of an Unhealthy Gut?

People with unhealthy flora experience digestion issues that lead to:

  • foggy brain
  • poor sleep
  • fatigue
  • flatulence
  • bloating
  • painful gas
  • constipation
  • acid reflux (GERD)
  • weight gain
  • cravings
  • inability to lose weight
  • diarrhea
  • constantly sick
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • hormonal imbalances
  • skin rashes

And that can lead to diseases such as IBS, Chrohn’s Disease, depression, diabetes, and more.

Unchecked heartburn can lead to esophageal spasms which feel like heart attacks. And eventually, the stomach acid can wear away the upper flap. Then the stomach acid starts wearing down your esophagus and can lead to cancer.

You could see a specialist in gastroenterology for tests like a colonoscopy and an endoscopy to detect abnormalities in your gut. There are also blood tests available like ASCA and the IBD profile.

There is something called “leaky gut.” Your intestines are designed to be the gatekeepers as to what gets absorbed in and what stays out. A poor diet and unbalanced flora can lead to holes in this defense.

That means potentially harmless things like a bit of chicken could get through the hole, and the body immediately thinks it’s an intruder and sends out the white blood cells to counter it.

After that, if you eat chicken, your body considers it an intruder, and you may not feel well after eating it.

I think that’s how many food allergies and intolerances may start.

The good news is we can heal our insides.

image of fresh fruits and vegetables in a basket
Different fresh vegetables on the table

3 Simple Ways to Help Your Gut

Everyone can start healing their guts today with some simple things.

Eat A Healthy Diet

Make sure you’re eating a diverse diet that includes fermented foods, and is about 60% fruits and vegetables.

If your diet is off, try to do small things that are healthy. For example if you’re on travel, and you know you need to eat lunch and dinner with others, try to start the day with some yogurt and fresh fruit.

This will give you pro-biotics as well as some insoluble fiber.

So what are pre-biotics, pro-biotics and fiber?

Pre-biotics are foods that help your body grow the beneficial gut bacteria, and heal leaky guts. Most pre-biotic foods also have a good amount of fiber.

Fiber is useful for your body to break down and process the food. Our bodies should have about 40 grams of fiber per day. This is not always easy to get with regular food, so there are a number of great supplements out there.

Foods high in pre-biotics:

  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans)
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Bananas
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Garlic
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Nuts

Pro-biotics are the good flora. By eating them, you’re helping increase their numbers in your gut. Get your pro-biotics with fermented foods and yogurt. Fermented foods include sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, miso, tempeh, and kombucha.

Avoid Things That Hurt Your Gut

Try to avoid taking a lot of antibiotics. When you need them, take them and complete the prescription. Never stop part-way because you’re feeling better because you have’t fully dealt with the infection. And it makes the infection stronger and resistant to the type of antibiotic you were taking.

And if you don’t take them often, they will be more effective.

Avoid antibacterial cleaners.

Learn relaxation techniques such as yoga, visualization and meditation. Exercise regularly. When you’re stressed, you hold things in your gut. This has a very negative affect on your whole body.

Try to reduce the amount of sugar you eat. Sugar is in everything now, so look at the labels. Too much sugar can gum up your brain. It’s been connected to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Image of spices

Look for Good Quality Supplements

You can supplement with powders and pills. And you can supplement with some foods. It’s not always possible to get everything you need from your diet, no matter how clean you eat.

So make sure you look for the highest quality supplements you can afford.

There are supplements you can take daily, or just when you need it. Perhaps you’re feeling a little off and you just want to help your body with a boost.

You can also reach for that cup of yogurt for a healthy boost as well.

Spice It Up

Also, there are some spices that can help your gut.

Ginger contains phenolic compounds that relieve gastrointestinal irritations and stimulates saliva and bile production. You can use ginger to reduce gas, cramping, and bloating as well as nausea.

Coriander seeds also aid with digestion and gas, and can reduce the intestinal spasms which IBS sufferers fear.

Some other great spices are

  • Fennel Seeds
  • Cardamom Pods
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fenugreek
  • Cinnamon

What Supplements to Look For

This is just a suggested list. Let me know if you have any particular concerns and I can let you know what may ease the symptoms.

Happy woman hiking with friends
Group of people hiking in countryside. Young women and men on mountain hike.

The Best Benefits of Healthy Guts

A healthy gut leads to a better metabolism. And a better metabolism means you get more nutrition out of what you do eat.

If you’re getting what you need, then you’ll notice that your appetite becomes more true. You only eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.

Gut bacteria influences your mood by producing the neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. The flor fights against developing psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia, ADHD, chronic fatigue, OCD, and more. It keeps your brain healthy and boosts the brain’s immunity.

A strong immune system protects you from illnesses and chronic diseases as well as helps you naturally prevent cancer.

My Final Thoughts

It may seem like a lot to take care of your body. There may see like there’s too many things to remember.

I can sum it up with eat well, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, drink fresh water, and supplement with quality products to help your body be its best.

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