Five Simple Ways To Improve Gut Health
Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
While this may not be 100% true for every disease in every person, more and more research shows that our gut, or digestive system, has a bigger role in many diseases than we used to think.
There are a few reasons for this. One of which is that it’s here where disease-causing bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins can be absorbed and spread to other body systems. And probably the most important link to overall health is that more than 70% of immune system cells reside in our guts.
We also take in nutrients through our gut. The nutrients we ingest and absorb are the building blocks of every single part of our body. An unhealthy gut has compromised absorption of nutrients.
We’re just learning the connections between our gut and other areas of our body, like our brain. It’s not only gut; but, its friendly resident microbes too. These guys also have newly discovered roles in our gut health and overall health and help to keep our gut ecology in balance.
Regular bouts of heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, IBS, or IBD can be signs that you’re gut ecology is out of whack. Heed these early warning signs. A prolonged imbalance of gut ecology can lead to allergies, pain, inflammation, mood disorders, cognitive decline, nutrient deficiencies and possibly disease.
So, let’s talk about the roles that our gut and our gut microbes play in our overall health. Then I’ll give you tips to improve gut health naturally.
Our gut’s role in our overall health
Our gut’s main role is as a barrier. To let things in that should get in, and to keep things out that should stay out. Think of “absorption” of nutrients as things we want to let in; and “elimination” of waste as things we want to pass right through and out.
This seemingly simple role is super-complex! And it can break down in so many places.
For one thing, our guts can “leak.” Yes, like a long tube with holes in it. It can allow things to get into our bloodstream/bodies that can wreak havoc, like bacteria, undigested food, and toxins. You name it, whatever you put into your mouth can be absorbed by your gut and get into your bloodstream, even if it’s not supposed to. And when your gut wall gets irritated, it can “leak.” When this happens, you get inflammation, which is a starting point for many diseases that don’t seem linked to the gut but have a sneaky connection there.
A healthy gut is not a leaky gut. It maintains its barrier and shuttles things through to be eliminated. Maintaining a healthy gut barrier is the first way to improve gut health.
The second main part of your gut are the billions of friendly health-promoting microbes. Gut microbes help us digest and absorb nutrients. They fight off disease-causing microbes, aid in nutrient absorption, make some vitamins for us, and have all kinds of other health benefits, like mental health benefits, reducing inflammation, and stabilizing blood sugar.
So, keeping your gut microbes in good shape is another way to improve gut health.
Five Simple Ways To Improve Gut Health
1- What to eliminate
It’s always best to eliminate the cause, so let’s stop giving our guts junk to deal with. How about eliminating added sugars, processed foods, and alcohol? Dairy and grains contain common compounds known to irritate some people’s guts too. Sometimes you only need to eliminate them for a few weeks to see if it makes a difference for you.
2- What to add in
By eating nutrient-dense foods, we allow ample macro-and micro-nutrients into our gut to maximize the chance for absorption. These nutrients help our bodies build and repair our gut, and every other body part as well. Some of the most nutrient-dense foods include dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and veggies, liver, and fish.
3- What to get more of
You can’t improve gut health without adding in healthy microbes. By ingesting probiotic-rich foods and drinks, we can help to replenish our gut microbes. These are found in fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and kimchi. Taking a high-quality, pre and probiotic supplement helps too. Click Here to see the one I recommend and use myself. Make these a part of your daily diet.
4- Fiber, fiber, and more fiber
Whole foods are full of gut-friendly fiber. Not eating enough fiber increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Fiber plays lots of roles in our gut, including whisking away some of those pesky bad bacteria and toxins so they can be eliminated. Fiber also helps to feed the friendly resident microbes that help us absorb and digest our food better. What foods have a lot of fiber? Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even cacao.
And don’t forget the oh so important lifestyle factors like getting enough sleep, stressing less, and getting the right amount of exercise for you. It’s easy to forget some of the simple, but key links there are between what we do with our bodies and how well they function.
Summing it all up…
A healthy, well functioning gut is key to your overall health. The two most important areas to pay attention to are maintaining a good barrier and maintaining healthy gut microbes.
The main ways to improve both of these naturally is by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. Foods filled with nutrition, probiotics, and fiber. And eliminating common gut irritants like added sugar, processed foods, and alcohol.
The recipe below is a great way to replenish and restore good gut microbes.
1 qt warm water
4 tsp salt
4 carrots, medium, peeled, sliced
1 clove garlic, smashed (optional)
Make a brine by dissolving the salt in water.
Place carrots into a clean canning jar, packing them in tight. Make sure to leave about 1 inch of headspace at the top.
Fill the jar with brine, making sure to cover the carrots completely. Weigh the carrots down to make sure they don’t float (you can use a “fermenting weight”).
Close the jar and let it sit at room temperature for 1-4 days. The longer it sits, the more the flavor will develop. Feel free to open and taste.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Use this as a side dish, or even a snack.
Click Here to view the recipe as PDF or to print/save a copy of this recipe.
As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’ve taken more than twenty-five years of client work and personal life experience to create a proven system to help you live the vibrant healthy life you desire.
I want you to know…It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way.
- Clarify your vision for a healthier, thinner, and happier you!
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