LOVE YOUR GUTS
For as long as we can remember, a slim figure and soft skin were the two main health/beauty worries for women. Then we started detoxing, stocking up on superfoods, cutting carbs and kicking sugar to the curb, all in the name of good health.
In recent years though, more and more info is coming out about the importance of keeping your gut healthy. Believe it or not, the state of your digestive system can be the root cause for many other health issues including brain and mental health. You might think that the body’s major mood regulator is the brain, but in actual fact, 90% of serotonin (aka the happy hormone) is produced in the digestive tract. Basically, a happy tummy equals a happy mind.
On top of making you feel good, a healthy gut can have a positive effect on your entire body, your mood and even your memory. Unfortunately though, a bad diet, stress and a lack of good bacteria in the gut can lead to a digestive disaster. We’re taking abdominal pain, bloating after meals, flatulence, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, moodiness and overall immune system weakness. Not nice stuff!
The great part is, all this can be controlled. All you have to do is get your gut back in shape. Here’s how to do it…
Sounds obvious but we know how hard this step can be for so many. But in reality, the first thing you need to do, to improve your digestive health is to cut as many toxins as you can from your diet. These include things like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, bad fats and other foods like gluten and dairy if you are intolerant. These types of substances can irritate the gut and cause it to become inflamed, which leads to a whole lot of health problems down the track. Of course, everything in moderation is fine.
Once you cut as much junk as you can, you need to start replacing it with whole, unprocessed foods. The type of foods that will help to improve your gut health are those which contain substances such as omega-3 fatty acids, L-glutamine, antioxidants and zinc. Some examples of good foods to choose include almonds, bananas, endive, mushrooms, oats, garlic, asparagus, turmeric and aloe vera.
Aside from all the other foods we’ve suggested, fermented or probiotic foods are essential. This is because fermented and cultured foods promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut, which leads to better digestion. They also help to clean out your system a bit, which will make you feel lighter, leaner and cleaner. The best part though? You’ll get a flatter tummy. Woohoo! Try to incorporate things like fermented cabbage, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi and kefir into your diet or take a daily probiotic supplement.
Drinking enough water is crucial if you want to maintain good gut health. This is because water helps to break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients easily. Water also cleanses your digestive system out, which allows it to function at its best.
Believe it or not, the number one reason that things go wrong with your gut is stress. When you get stressed out, this causes your nervous system to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is terrible for your digestive system, as it causes the blood to flow away from your gut and into your bigger muscle groups (the ones needed to run away from danger). Working yoga and meditation into your weekly routine can help to reduce stress and ultimately improve your digestive health.
Exercising for at least 30 minutes each day will help to keep your digestive system running smoothly. This is because it strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and allows your intestines to contract properly, which can help to move food through your system. Along with yoga, it can also help to reduce stress.