During this time of year we start talking all things’ health; mental health, physical health, spiritual health and so forth. There may even be a conversation or two about changing the way we eat by removing or adding somethings to our everyday diet. Now while this particular conversation may come with a little bit of uneasiness depending on your relationship with food there is some significant importance surrounding gut health.
Essentially gut health is how well our insides, bacteria + enzymes function in the digestive tract. This is a big deal because if food isn’t broken down properly, then the nutrients we need can not be absorbed in the blood efficiently. This can be brought on by eating poor diets of highly processed foods + sugars. Truthfully there are things we do each day that disrupt our gut health balance that has nothing to do with food. Low quality sleep, stress and even the over consumption of antibiotics or probiotics can cause the gut to become imbalanced.
This can lead to all kinds of issues such as:
- irritable stomach
- weight changes
- increased sleep issues
- skin irritation
- lowered ability to fight off infection
- and so forth
The reasons that we want to have a healthy gut is pretty obvious. When we fuel our body, we want the nutrients to go where its suppose to go and our body to do the things that it was created to do efficiently.
Naturally we would assume that the steps to getting our gut health in check would start with removing overly processed foods and sugars from our every day diet. While that is definitely a start that will drastically change the performance of your belly (probably not in the most comfortable way), there are other steps you can take to ease your way into helping your digestive track do what it does best.
Getting your Gut Health in check
1. Slow down when you eat. Chewing food more thoroughly allows the food to be broken down into manageable pieces before reaching your gut. This gives the enzymes and bacteria in your belly a leg up on the digestion process ensuring that nutrients are properly released into the blood. Slowing down also gives you an opportunity to truly enjoy what you are tasting.
2. Drink enough fluids. We all know we should drink water + be hydrated, but what you didn’t know is staying hydrated helps the mucus lining of the intestines to stay moist and functioning properly. Water is like a universal lubricant for your insides.
3. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. The body as a whole can not effectively function without proper rest. When we sleep our body is given the time and space to unwind, repair + replenish itself. Making sure you are getting solid sleep each night is an easy way to promote gut health.
4. Bulk up on the gut health promoting foods. Foods that are high in fiber help with digestion like bananas, beans + oats. Foods that are fermented like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha or yogurt are great ways to add natural probiotics and bacteria to the belly. Special note: Probiotics should be added with caution for 2 reasons: 1. Not all probiotics are created equal + of quality ingredients. 2. if your gut naturally produces a good amount of bacteria, adding something that promotes more growth can cause major issues. Always do your research.
No Better Time Than Now
Having a healthy gut is extremely important when we talk about fighting off colds, flu and infections. Without a healthy body we leave ourselves open to chance and I personally don’t like those odds. Since we will be in the cold + flu season for a few more weeks until its officially spring there is no better time than the present to take the steps in getting your gut in check than now.