The Importance of Gut Health
In my experience and training as an acupuncturist, it is clear that in order to live happy, vibrant lives, we MUST be good to our gut. Our gut is not only a place where food is received and processed out, it is also considered to be our “second brain”. The digestive system passes information to our brain, like when to release those feel-good hormones and when to regulate them. But, most of us live fast-paced lives with a great deal of stress and little sleep, and our bodies then start to suffer from toxin build up and an overwhelmed system.
Signs of Your Gut Crying Out for Help
Skin condition: eczema, acne
Digestive issues: constipation, bloating
Autoimmune disorders: arthritis
Chronic, Unmanageable Stress
Overuse of Antibiotics
How to Heal Your Gut
- There are lots of gut cleanses you can do, like this one here, this is a great way to kick start your journey to healing your gut.
- Choose your food wisely! Good quality food that is organic, local, GMO-free, raised free of hormones and antibiotics and without pesticides and chemicals is always best. Be a minimalist when it comes to what is in your food. Be mindful with what you season your food with and if there contains any possible preservatives or fillers that will bog you down. Season sparingly and with quality ingredients, ie: trade in your table salt for a good quality sea salt or pink himalayan salt that will not only flavor your food and bring out the deliciousness but also add in minerals and electrolytes that may enhance your health without the negative effects of table salt.
- Chew your food well! The saliva in your mouth is the first step to the digestion process, and by chewing your food up well, your body will have an easier time assimilating the food and absorbing the nutrients. So take your time and chew, chew, chew!
- Incorporating PREBIOTICS into your diet and PROBIOTICS in your daily meal routines will be key to keeping your gut happy and healthy. Prebiotics will feed the good bacteria and help the probiotics (the good bacteria that will help your gut flora) thrive! Also, if you find yourself suffering from poor gut health you may also have sensitivities to these foods that you would be best to stay away from.
List of Some Prebiotics:
- Dandelion Greens
- Citrus Fruits
- Sweet Potatoes
- Unripened Bananas
- Chia and Flax Seeds
- Black, Navy, Kidney and White Beans
- Whole Wheat
Here’s a List of Some Probiotics:
- Kim Chi
- Fermented LIve Miso
- Traditional Sour Dough Bread
- Pickled Beets
- Brined Olives
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dark Chocolate (yup! YOU'RE WELCOME!)
If you find it easier to keep up with getting your daily amount of probiotics by taking a probiotic supplement, I recommend finding a probiotic that has at least these three strains of bacteria: L. acidophilus, B. Longum and B. bifidum. Companies choose certain strains of bacteria to address different ailments that would help issues like digestive issues, vaginal issues, etc. so do your research and decide which is right for you. You also want to read up on how the company keeps the bacterias alive. From the way they package the probiotics to how they ensure the live bacteria can reach the intestines (still alive so that it can begin its work). Companies that disclose how they've tested their product to be effective and if they'e used a double blind study is a good sign as well! Probiotics can be pricey, so if you do your homework to find out which one is best for you and if it's effective, it'll really pay off in the long run. Plus, when you are taking the probiotics you should feel a difference. Bowel movements will be better and digestive issues should be reduced significantly.
You can find my favorite adult "rescue" probiotic here. This is great for when you really need to replenish your gut flora with good bacteria because you're doing a cleanse, or your starting a new regimen to revamp the gut, or you've just finished with a round of antibiotics. PS. probiotics can and should be taken while on antibiotics, just spaced out 4 hours before and after antibiotics is taken or it will weaken the effects of the antibiotics. It takes about 4 weeks for the gut flora to recover from a round of antibiotics when taken with doses of probiotics or 2 YEARS without probiotics. Oh man. For a daily probiotic I recommend this one here.
As a mom of two, I've learned that one of the best aids to help boost the immune system is probiotics even at a young age. Their digestive systems are delicate and maturing so what better way than to sprinkle some probiotics on some of their favorite foods? I always put my son's probiotics in his breakfast to get his day started on a great foot, which means they go in his acai bowls, oatmeal, smoothies, etc. My favorite probiotic for kids comes in powder form and needs to be refrigerated and are unflavored, so they won't change the taste of whatever yummy meal you're serving up! This is my favorite probiotics for kids here! While we are on the topic, if you do tend to make smoothie or smoothie bowls for yourself or your loved ones, this is a great opportunity to add in a on of other nutritious ingredients. We love using the Organic Acai packets that can be found at Trader Joe's frozen food section for a base, then add in any fresh or frozen fruits and veggies desired. Then I like to add things like flax seed or chia seeds, but my favorite thing to add other than powdered probiotics is chlorella! It's a super body detoxifier, great for balancing healthy hormone function, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and also fantastic for cardiovascular health! Get creative and drink (smoothies) to your health!
In my practice, patients that have made these small changes in their daily diet have made huge improvements to their quality of life. They have experienced better sleep, less allergic reactions and a speedier response to acupuncture treatments. Paying attention to what you put in your body and working towards a cleaner gut is well worth the effort!