Love Your Gut!

What you eat is important to your gut and your overall health. Focus on whole foods, avoid eating processed foods and added sugar.
CAT Burke
June 20, 2023
Love Your Gut!

Did you know that trillions of bacteria live in, and on our body? The amount and diversity of this bacteria is VERY important to our overall health and wellness, especially the  bacteria in our gut. The bacteria in our gut is called gut microbiota and refers to the many organisms that live in the gastrointestinal system. You may have heard this referred to as gut flora. Our gut microbiota helps with digestion, immune system, hormone regulation and even our mental health. Some of the things that affect our gut microbiota are: Lifestyle, Nutrition and Genetics. These are all factors in influencing the amount and diversity of the bacteria found in our gut. When our gut microbiota is not in sync, we experience inflammation, gut lining issues and even depression. 

Research shows proper nutrition, including eating whole foods, consuming prebiotics and probiotics, and managing stress, can aid in diversifying gut bacteria, which in turn decreases inflammation, maintains healthy lining in our digestive system and decreases the potential for obesity and depression. 

So how do we keep our gut happy? I am going to share three tips on how you can have a happy gut and healthier life. 

Tip Number One: Focus on whole foods first with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. Avoid eating processed and packaged foods and limit sugar and alcohol. Processed foods, sugar and alcohol can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Limiting these foods will greatly increase the number and diversity of the good bacteria needed to keep you healthy. 

Tip Number Two: Consume prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are not as well known as their partner the probiotic. Prebiotics are the precursor, or food, for the bacteria in the body that breaks down into the chemicals necessary to maintain a healthy balance in the gut. You can find prebiotics in fibrous foods such as garlic, onions, asparagus, whole wheat pasta and sweet potatoes. These foods help decrease inflammation in the body and regulate your gut biome. Probiotics, the consumable live bacteria that we can find in foods like yogurts, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut and more, are known for helping maintain healthy digestion, increasing mood and promoting heart health. 

Tip Number Three: Manage stress. Our brain and gut are highly connected. When we experience a high amount of stress, our body releases cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone”, into our system. When cortisol levels increase in our body, we experience negative effects such as a decrease in the flow of oxygen and blood to our stomach, stomach cramping, gastrointestinal bacteria imbalance and inflammation in the digestive tract. If these things are not regulated, it can lead to more severe issues long term such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and even certain types of ulcers. So how can we manage stress in our life? Get outside and move, be in the present with yourself and others, put down the electronics and read a book, meditate, journal and give yourself some time each day to relax. 

Remember, eat whole foods, limit sugar and processed foods. Get in those pre and probiotics. Get outside and give yourself some attention and love. Happy gut, happy life!

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