You may have noticed there’s a lot of chatter about “gut health” in the nutrition and health industry these days, and for good reason! (FYI – we’re talking about our gastrointestinal systems here, not the unwanted stomach fat that some people refer to as their “gut!” )
In a nut shell, our guts more or less rule our existences, so much so that they are often referred to these days as our “second brains.” Mainly because if our gut health is on track, it sends signals to our brains saying “everything is good here, so you are free to feel happy!” However, if things in our digestive system are out of wack, it will usually let you know with one or more of the following symptoms:
Brain fog / poor memory
Immune system weakness
Joint aches and pains
Bloating and gas after meals
Autoimmune diseases and disorders
Acid Reflux / heart burn
BTW – it is NOT normal to only have one bowel movement a week (it should be once a day – at least!) and it is NOT normal to have diarrhea last days on end. I’m often shocked when I hear how many folks think these situations are normal or just let it continue for months or years without attempting to get to the root of the problem.
So if you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s important to do something about it! Otherwise, you could be looking at a pretty miserable future, as it typically only gets worse as time goes on. Some experts even believe poor gut health is connected to early Parkinson’s, dementia and certain cancers!
Life is too short! Let’s set ourselves up for success and happiness by doing all we can to make sure our insides are on track and running smoothly. After all, our bodies are extremely resilient, and many of these conditions and symptoms can be resolved!
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms described above, here are things you can do on your own to try and fix the issues:
- Limit sugar to very small amounts a day, if any. Pay attention to nutrition labels to make sure sugar isn’t sneaking it’s way into your diet.
- Make eating vegetables a top priority!
- Typically the best options if your stomach is feeling sensitive are: Raw or sautéed spinach, sautéed collard greens, raw cucumbers and bell peppers, cooked carrots and zucchini.
- Start taking 10 grams (1000 mg.) of glutamine powder two times a day. Just mix in water and drink!
- Ditch foods and drinks sweetened with sugar, aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin, xylitol, sorbitol or any other sugar alcohol. Small amounts of monk fruit seems to be the best option for sweetening.
- Also ditch anything processed, such as crackers and snack/protein bars. Stick with whole foods.
- Omit all dairy products
- Omit wheat and/or gluten containing products
- Cut back on caffeine
- Limit or omit alcohol, even red wine.
- Start paying attention to any other foods that you’re reacting poorly to and take a break from them to see if that helps. This includes certain fruits and nuts. Keep a food journal to help keep track.
- Make an effort to reduce or manage stress. Think positive thoughts!
- Avoid antibiotics whenever possible! They kill off good gut bacteria, too, which can lead to more issues in the future.
Heck, even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, doing all of the above is a great idea for preventative maintenance!
If you’d like some professional help in managing your symptoms or conditions, consider seeing an Integrative or naturopathic doctor. Most of them are total PROS when it comes to gut health and can help transform your health and well-being, even if you’ve already been diagnosed by a medical doctor with a condition such as IBS, IBD, inflammatory bowel diseases, or any other gut disorder.
Have a question or comment? Please share in the comments below!