This past Farmers Market we gave a little demonstration on gut health; what causes poor gut health and ways to restore it. In case you missed it we wanted to write about it here today.
Did you know...
-95% of serotonin derives from your gut?
-there are about 100 trillion bacteria living inside of your gut alone?
-that your intestines are the only organ that looks like your brain?
-if you were to spread your intestines out it'd cover the perimeter of a tennis court?
-70%-80% of your immune system stems from your gut?
-it takes anywhere from 30%-80% of energy to digest your food... "food coma" anyone?
Poor gut health is linked to a number of issues, but there are some that stick out more than others. When we get into a flight-or-fight mode we are in what's called, "The Sympathetic State". In this state our adrenal glands charge up, which are the size of two walnuts above our kidneys and therefore, cortisol is released. It's totally normal to have this because in primitive days we were fighting off lions and tigers but today it's traffic or scary children that drive us mad. Only, we're in this state more frequently than in the past. Our adrenal glands can only produce so much. When our bodies are under this amount of stress all of the time, our digestion comes to a halt and we are not able to properly break down or take in any nutrients. The opposite, relaxing and peaceful, is called the "Parasympathetic State". This is where we'd like to find ourselves often. Think, what can you do to relax a little more?
Poor Gut Health is Linked to:
-bloating, flatulence, constipation, having "the pooch" (inflammation or fat?)
-chronic diseases; auto-immune disorders
-poor sleep; constantly waking up
-low energy, fatigue
-depression, mood swings
-many, many cravings for junk or addictions to alcohol, sugars, etc.
What Can Cause Poor Gut Health?
A healthy gut is one that is approximately 85% good bacteria which is helpful to fighting off diseases and breaking down food in order to absorb nutrients. However, feed your body with chemically-processed foods, refined carbohydrates, sugars (not from fruit or veggies), pump yourself with antibiotic and hormone-added animal products, then you're on the right track to sickness. The following are ways many people, specifically Americans, are destroying the quality of their immune systems:
-consuming too many non-organic foods
-eating foods that have traveled miles and miles since harvest
-ingesting most foods from packages (that are not whole foods), processed foods and eating at restaurants for every or most meals
-consuming poor animal products that have been malnourished or fed inappropriately in cramped factories
-not committing to self-care or stress-management activities
-not listening to what YOUR body is telling you it needs
11 Ways to Restore Gut Health
Have no fear! Our bodies are meant to heal themselves. It's not built to decide one day, "I'm going to punish you back!" It is constantly working like a machine to fix the errors and make a healthy, strong, and resilient body! Any good you add to it, it will use it to make you better. Trust your gut because it truly is the second brain and driving force of how to live a happier and healthier life.
1. Take probiotics daily
2. Take Digestive Enzymes [look for amylase (carbs), protease (protein), and lipase (fats)]
3. Make your plate 2/3 vegetation... GET THAT FIBER!
4. Be organic as much as possible
5. Move your body at least 30 minutes each day
6. Eat only healthy, happy animals if you have to: cage-free, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, humane-certified
7. Mind what you do 1-hour before bed (turn off that T.V.)
8. Commit to at least 1-hour of self-care or stress-management each day
9. Eat fermented foods such as kraut, kimchi, and kombucha
10. Eat healthy fats to lubricate intestines and absorb nutrients: coconut, olives, avocados, oils, nuts
11. Shop locally as much as you can, specifically the farmers market, from vendors who source or grow within 30-100 miles from where you live
There is much more we can talk about but feel free to leave us a message with any comments or questions. We're here to help!
Meagan is a graduate from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and has been certified as an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She has demonstrated an ability to understand and utilize a wide range of dietary and nutrition theories, as well as develop business and coaching skills to practice in a variety of settings. Meagan has been trained to educate and guide clients to make behavioral changes resulting in improved nutrition, dietary habits, and physical ability and overall greater health and wellness.