Gut Health: Why It’s Important & How to Keep It Healthy!
Did you know that you have a second nervous system in your gut? Called the enteric nervous system, this network of nerves is often referred to as a second brain as it influences a majority of our bodily functions. Keeping your gut healthy is crucial to your overall health! Stress, sleep deprivation, processed and sugary foods, and medications can all affect our gut microbiome. This in turn affects other parts of our health such as our immune system, skin, and brain. If you suffer from any of the following symptoms, it may be time to make some changes to improve your gut health. Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Frequent upset stomach
Constant fatigue or sleep problems
Food allergies or sensitivities
There are a variety of ways an unhealthy gut might manifest itself (these are just a few!), so we’ve come up with a few ways to help you get back on track, naturally. When it comes to food, you are what you eat! Avoid sugary, processed foods, and aim to eat foods that will help heal your gut, such as: Whole grains, fruits & veggies. High-fiber foods are great for aiding digestion. Think foods like legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, and leeks. Eating these types of foods has also been shown to raise the number of good bacteria in the gut, which is crucial for proper function. Fermented foods. Foods like yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut have had their sugars broken down by yeast or bacteria, and are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health. According to Healthline.com, “Research shows that people who eat a lot of yogurt appear to have more lactobacilli in their intestines. These people also have less Enterobacteriaceae, which is a type of bacteria associated with inflammation and a number of chronic conditions.” (*1) Dark chocolate…seriously. Dark chocolate is rich in fiber as well as polyphenols, which microbes in the gut use as fuel. Dark chocolate is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. Pre & Probiotics. Prebiotics promote the growth of several types of beneficial bacteria, while probiotics may improve microbiome function and help restore the microbiome to good health in those with certain health conditions. (*1) Add some spice. Adding spices like turmeric, ginger, and garlic to your breakfasts, lunches or dinners may help stop unhealthy gut bacteria from growing. Cut artificial sweeteners. Some research suggests that they can increase blood sugar levels and have an overall negative impact on the microbiome in your gut. (*2) Your overall health is the most important thing. Our goal is to help you and feel your best, on the inside and out!