Your gut. If you want good health, start with your gut. Your gut is your second brain – that gut feeling is usually right. It is the foundation of your immunity system, it houses your digestion, regulates your metabolism, promotes good detoxification, lowers cholesterol, responsible for the removal of waste and therefore, responsible for the majority of your overall health. All of this impacts your first brain, your mood, your energy levels, your skin and hair and therefore, everything about how you look and feel.
It also makes a brilliant acronym to talk about it.
G is for Good bacteria.
Did you know that you have 10 times more good bacteria cells than human cells? We are more bacteria than we are human! These bacteria are becoming more and more understood and form a colony of microbiome in your stomach; billions of live bacteria housed in your gut, including virus and fungi forming our own internal ecosystem.
These micro-organisms, their health and ability to perform their very important jobs are impacted by your history including your lifestyle, stress levels, delivery at birth, medication (painkillers, anti-biotics), genetics and of course, diet.
While there are some contributers that you can do nothing about, there are some that you can….
U is for understanding the symptoms of an unhealthy gut and your own personal gut irritants
Nowadays, it is pretty arguable, given the research in functional medicine, that any health issues can be linked back to your gut health and therefore, your diet and lifestyle.
If you suffer in silence or loudly about any of the following, then is is likely time for you to pay attention to your gut. It is trying to tell you something.
- Stomach issues: bloating, gas, diarrhoea, constipation, pain
- Weight gain, weight loss, fluid retention
- Aches and pains; achy joints, arthritic pain
- Energy loss, fatigue, lack of motivation, lack of concentration
- Skin, hair, nail health: dull, break outs, dry, eczema, psoriasis
- Yeast infections
Once you are aware of your symptoms, it is time to become aware of your primary irritants and do some R&R – removing and replacing.
Simply look at your diet and lifestyle; your most common food over the course of a few days, is likely to be your biggest irritant:
- caffeine / alcohol / soft drinks
- sugar / chocolate / processed foods
- gluten / wheat
- dairy / eggs
- Stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation, insomnia (ok not a food, but still an irritant)
All of the above impact the integrity of your microbiome and the good bacteria in your gut. If they aren’t working at optimal health in their little community, it will impact negatively on your health too and your ability to perform in your community.
I told you it was time for R&R… remove the irritants and replace with good food, good health practices.
T is for treating your tummy and for time
Medicines, painkillers and anti-biotics are all well and good, but if they are not working in either the short or long term, why not try replacing them with self-healing and following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle.
- Reduce stress by slowing down and looking at your environment
- Take short rest periods or breaks throughout your day, change your perspective
- Do stress relieving activities, gentle exercise, breathing exercises, meditation / mindfulness
- Play and find ways to laugh!
- Consider at your environment; tidy up, clear the clutter, step away from people or places causing the stress
- Engage in R&R – rest and relaxation with massage, complimentary therapies, read a book, sleep, watch a box set.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory and good microbial diet
- introduce lots of polyphenols (colours) and fibre by eating the ‘plant rainbow’ and green leafy vegetables
- introduce essential fatty acids and omega 3 with nuts, seeds, avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, oily fish
- introduce fermented foods full of friendly bacteria with pickles, sauerkraut, kefir and bone broth (see recipes of the week #guthealth)
- stimulate your digestion with lemon water or raw, organic apple cider vinegar
- add turmeric and cinnamon to your food as natural anti-inflammators
- Promote your own digestion in the way you eat
- chew your food and naturally produce saliva to help break down the food in your mouth and also signal to your stomach to start producing acids
- slow down when you eat and allow your stomach to do it’s job properly – no one likes to be rushed!
- Take a good probiotic from a good health food shop or recommendation
- these can be in the form of fermented foods but also as a supplement
- look for probiotics with pre-biotics and enzymes to protect and feed the probiotics
Time. I know you want a quick fix. But anything worth having is worth waiting for. And in my opinion, healing is always proportional to the time of suffering.
My son’s stomach was ravaged by coeliac disease from 9 months old until a diagnosis at 16 months and we were advised by our amazing surgeon that any diet takes 6 weeks to take effect. 6 weeks to the day, he vomitted for the last time.
I healed myself in a week, last week, following the guidelines above, after an IBS flare up from too many of my known irritants (wine, sugar and stress).
If none of that has convinced you, what about this.
70-75%% of your immune system is in your gut. Therefore, we heal from the gut.
Your Gut health can either be your highway to health or the pathway to pathology.
It’s your choice. But listen to your gut.
#guthealth #microbiome #antiinflammatory #gut #functionalmedicine #foodasmedicine# #health #stress #howtohealyourself #healyourselfhappy #loveyourself #highwaytohealth #listentoyourgut