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6 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health

Our microbiome. It's among the new topics of the nutrition world, for very good reason. It's not, in fact, a new trend at all. It's ancient history making it's way back into our modern world. Hippocrates said in 400BC that all disease starts in the gut. It has taken the medical field this long to link it to over 170 different diseases! 80% of our immune system resides in the gut!

 

Do you experience any of the following symptoms?

  • Fatigue

  • Brain fog

  • Mood swings

  • Low libido

  • Skin issues like eczema

  • Anxiety

  • Hormone imbalance

  • Depression

  • Stress

  • Susceptibility to the flu or the common cold

  • Bloating, diarrhea, constipation, any other type of gastrointestinal discomfort

There is a good chance this is connected to gut dysbiosis. The gut-brain axis refers to the bidirectional communication between the brain and the gut which is considered the second brain. It has more neurons than the brain and the spinal cord put together. In fact, there are 100 million neurons in the small intestine alone! 

 

A healthy microbiome is one without disease that is full of diverse bacteria that produces essential vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and immune regulating molecules. Here are just a few ways to reduce bad overgrowth:

  • Limit the use of NSAIDS. 

When these anti-inflammatory drugs are used for more than a few days in a row, they can significantly impact your microbiome and the gut lining. 

  • Reduce the use of antibiotics. 

I am not saying don’t take antibiotics when they’re needed – just be aware that they’re often over-prescribed and not always necessary. 

  • Discontinue using harsh antibacterial soaps and cleaning products. 

You can make your own cleaning agents by combining white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils that are antibacterial. Natural antibacterials can be less harsh than chemical solvents. I absolutely love Thieves by Young Living.

  • Chose a high-quality probiotic strain catered to your gut issues.

Different strains are for different health issues. Some help with mental wellness, others skin issues. Make sure whatever brand you buy has clinical testing and is completely organic and non-GMO. My family and I take Amare Fundamentals each day for optimal gut health because they check all the boxes.

  • Consume soluble fiber found in fruits and vegetables to feed our probiotics.

  • Avoid artificial sweeteners. 

They may not have calories so to speak, but it’s now being shown that glucose intolerance is induced by the gut microbiome when these sweeteners are consumed. 

  • Practice mindful eating.

We need to realize the strength of the gut-brain axis by paying attention to our gut feelings. We digest food faster when we are angry or anxious. The journey our food takes through the 30-foot tube slows down significantly if we are depressed.

Instead of just concentrating on what we eat, I challenge you to focus on how, when and where you eat, as well as who you eat with.

Check in with yourself when you sit down to eat.

  • Are the kids running around while you scarf down your meal?

  • Are you sitting in front of your computer screen finishing lunch while doing a project?

  • Is something taking up your mind space while you eat?

  • Are you chewing slowly? Every bite should be liquid before we swallow.

These things matter to the way we absorb nutrients while breaking down our food. We need to pay attention to how we feel as well as how we eat. After all, we’re not really what we eat, we are what we absorb.

 

 

 

Jes Royston is a Certified Holistic Health Coach by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, American Association of Drugless Practitioners and SUNY Purchase. She is currently practicing out of Advanced Natural Medicine of Jupiter with functional medicine doctor Dr. Michelle Massa. She focuses on overall lifestyle change by helping her clients find the right foods to support them in reaching their health goals and a better balance in all areas of their life. She does not put people on trendy diets. She looks at each person as an individual. She gives the tools needed to live long, healthy, happy, fulfilling lives by working on both primary and secondary foods. Her main focus is on gut health, detoxification, hormone balance, mental wellness + nutrition. She recently partnered with a company who’s product line optimizes the Gut Brain Axis (GBX).

Sources and Additional Reading:

"Broken Brain" docuseries, Dr. Mark Hyman, 2017.

Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2018.

Mental Health Stats in the Workplace, Amare Global, 2017.

 

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