If you struggle with fatigue, bloating, mental fogginess, unwanted weight gain or acne, the issue may be in your gut. Fast-paced lifestyles, poor diets, lack of rest and medication use can take a toll on the health of our gut. Here are five tips for better gut health.
1. Manage stress
You’re probably thinking, what does stress have to do with my gut. The brain communicates with the body through the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) (the fight or flight system) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) (rest and digest) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) (the second brain).
When the SNS is helping you get away from a threat, it shunts blood away from your digestive system and sends it to your muscles.
Chronic stress can lead to poor digestion when you don’t properly break down food the nutrients cannot be absorbed, and this leads to feelings of fatigue, mental fog, and increased cravings.
2. Know your side effects
When you take an over the counter or prescription drug, do you pay attention to the listed side effects?
Many people take antibiotics and over counter medications without a thought to how it affects their gut or any of the other harmful side effects.
Proton pump inhibitors are used to treat heartburn, and the do this by decreasing levels of acid in the stomach. The acid in the stomach is needed to kill harmful bacteria that may be in your food and break your food down into nutrients that can be absorbed. When your food is not properly digested, it can lead to bloating and stomach discomfort.
The acid in your stomach is also needed to get vitamins and minerals from the food that you eat, when levels are low you are not able to absorb nutrients like iron and B12. If you struggle with fatigue, low energy and you may be suffering from anemia.
3. Follow up with a probiotic
The overuse and abuse of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine have led to an epidemic of poor gut health and antibiotic resistant bacteria.
Anytime you take an antibiotic it is important to take a probiotic to help keep the harmful bacteria in the gut body in check. When the beneficial bacteria are wiped out, the harmful bacteria take over and increase inflammation in the body.
It is important to eat probiotic rich foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi can help replenish your healthy bacteria and keep you and your gut healthy.
4. Eat minimally processed foods
The quality of the food you eat can either prevent or promote inflammation, and most Americans are eating an inflammatory diet. When you eat refined junk food it feeds the harmful bacteria and increases inflammation in the body; chronic inflammation puts added stress on the immune system and increases your risk of developing autoimmune diseases and allergies.
The best way to feed your good bacteria and decrease inflammation is to eat a minimally processed diet that is full of fiber, healthy fats and protein.
5. Work with an expert
If you struggle with bloating, fatigue, anxiety, unwanted weight gain, and low energy; consult with an expert who will work with you to tailor a plan to help you heal your gut.
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