Want to fine-tune your health and happiness? Then it’s important to learn about gut health and what you can do to nourish it.
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The gut. It’s one of the epicenters of your body. It has a hand in many critical functions of the body so it’s imperative to keep it balanced.
The Importance of Gut Health
The gut plays a vital role in your overall health and well-being. It can help control everything from your weight to your mood to brain health, inflammation and immune function.
Not only that, but 90% of serotonin, the happy feel good hormone, is produced in the gut. So if you’re feeling down and out, it could be traced to a gut imbalance.
If you want to stay happy and healthy, then you need to make sure you support your gut health.
What is the Gut Microbiome?
So you’ve got all of these bacteria in your body. Most of these guys are in your large intestine and make up the gut microbiome. Don’t get grossed out. Stay with me.
You want and need good bacteria in your system. The good guys can help with digestion and removing toxins from the body. They keep your immune system strong. In fact, 70% of your immune system is found in the gut.
The problem comes when there are too many bad bacteria running the show. When that happens, you develop an imbalance that can affect your health.
What Happens When Your Gut is Off?
Let’s say that you’re super stressed at work, so you eat junk food all week, have a lot of drinks, and get poor sleep. All of these actions can negatively impact you gut microbiome. What does that look like?
Skin problems – itchy, hives, rashes
Digestive upset – bloating, abdominal pain
Constipation or loose stools
Headaches and migraines
How Does Your Gut Get Out of Balance?
Sadly, there’s many ways that your gut microbiome can become unhealthy. Here are some ways the gut can get out of balance, in addition to some ways to keep these things in check.
Poor diet – processed, sugar-laden food is not doing any favors for your gut health. Following these 5 food rules will help ensure that you’re putting the most nourishing food in your body
Excess stress – stress is no friend to your body or your life. A quick stress-reliever can be to take a few long, slow deep breaths in the moment to relax the body. Meditation can also be super helpful to release excess tension.
Repeated use of antibiotics – while antibiotics can play an important role in fighting off infection, overuse can kill the good bacteria in your system. Taking a good probiotic can help balance your system.
Overindulging in alcohol – alcohol consumption can negatively impact the gut. If you choose to drink, here are some tips to drink a little healthier.
Overuse of NSAIDs and ibuprofen can also damage your intestinal lining so look for ways to address the issues at the root of your pain.
Not getting enough sleep – being sleep deprived can impact your gut, brain, and diet so make quality sleep a priority. Here are 11 tips for better sleep.
How to Ensure Good Gut Health
I’m assuming you don’t want any of the above items in your life. I know I don’t. So what’s a gut-challenged gal supposed to do?
Here’s what you can do and eat to ensure good gut health.
Eat fermented food. This 2-ingredient DIY sauerkraut recipe is easy and will start feeding the good bacteria in your gut. Be sure to go slowly and contact your doctor if your gut becomes more aggravated, which could mean a possible yeast overgrowth.
Keep inflammation at bay by using healthy oils and avoiding the harmful ones that can bring added toxins into your body.
Be aware of your food allergies and sensitivities and be sure to avoid them. Many people have issues digesting gluten, grains, and dairy and eating them can lead to inflammation and an imbalanced gut.
Add a probiotic. Probiotics can go a long way in helping to restore gut health. Soil based probiotics can be helpful for those suffering from gut issues. There are many different strains on the market. Work with your health care provider to find the one that’s right for you.
Exercise regularly. Research done at the University of Illinois showed that exercise had a positive effect on the gut microbiome, reducing inflammation and increasing energy.
Test your gut bacteria with an at-home kit like Viome. Viome’s service goes deep into the makeup of your gut to determine the health of your microbiome. They then offer recommendations on the food you should be eating and avoiding to support your personal gut microbiome. For a limited time, use promo code Tasting for $50 off your home testing kit.