Yeah, I know. No one wants to talk about gut health. Not really.
But here’s the reality, folks.
Our lives are full of stressors. Some of us more than others. Most of us are stressed out. Life, kids, careers, getting by, political climate, financial stressors. So. Much. Stress.
We suffer from reflux, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Our valued veterans live with the challenges of PTSD, and all that goes along with it. Those inundated with a plethora of pharmaceuticals damage their gut health daily with a variety of synthetic substances.
The crazy complexity of your gut and its key vitality in overall health is something generating an increasing amount of research. Numerous studies over the last twenty years or so have proven links and empirical evidence that there is a significant connection between gut health and your immune system, mental health, autoimmune and endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and – most importantly – cancer.
A healthy human has about 300 to 500 species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some organisms are harmful to our health, many are beneficial and necessary for maintaining a healthy gut.
Several studies have proven that having a variety of good bacteria in your gut enhances immune system functioning, supports the improvement of the symptoms of depression, and provides several other gut health benefits.
There are several ways an unhealthy gut might show itself. Here are six of the most common signs:
Upset stomach – Stomach upsets like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn are all signs that something is amiss in your gut.
A sugary diet – A diet high in processed elements and sugars can decrease the number of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance causes bigger sugar cravings, which will damage your gut further.
Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue – An unhealthy gut often contributes to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or an interrupted sleep pattern, leading to chronic fatigue. Remember – serotonin, a hormone affecting mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can easily impair your ability to sleep well.
Skin irritation – Skin conditions like eczema may be related to gut imbalances or damage. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause an increase of specific proteins in your body, which can cause a few skin irritations.
Autoimmune conditions – Researchers are consistently finding evidence of the connection between the gut and the immune system. It is widely believed that an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation, changing the functioning of the immune system.
Food intolerances – A food intolerance is the result of an inadequate processing by the body of specific foods. Food intolerances could easily be caused by a lack of quality bacteria in the gut. This can lead to problems digesting the target foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating and abdominal pain.
And here are six things you can do to support gut health:
Lower your stress levels – Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut. Lowering stress levels might include meditation, getting outside, getting a massage, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, increasing the laughter in your life, laughing, or communing with your pet.
Get enough sleep – Not getting enough or enough good quality sleep can have enormous impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues. Different people require different amounts of sleep. Try to 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. If you wake up feeling groggy, try for more or less in around ½ hour increments. Even one hour either way can make a difference. Stay away from synthetic sleep aids and opt for an herbal or natural one, if you must.
Stay hydrated – I know, I know, everyone says “Drink more water” for virtually every ailment. However, the effects of dehydration are fairly insidious, and almost diabolical. Getting and staying hydrated is a simple way to promote a healthy gut.
Pre- and Probiotics – Adding this supplement to your diet is a great way to improve your gut health. Prebiotics feed the growth of beneficial bacteria, while probiotics are actual live good bacteria. People with bacterial overgrowth, such as SIBO, should not take probiotics.
Check for food intolerances – Symptoms like cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rashes, nausea, and acid reflux can indicate a food intolerance. Eliminate some of the more commonly not tolerated foods and see how you fare. If your symptoms improve – Bam! – you’ve got it. Also, don’t discount the possibility of more than one food to which your body may be intolerant.
What you eat – Greatly decreasing or eliminating processed, high-sugar, and high-fat foods that you eat can seriously improve your gut health. Besides that, eating plenty of plant-based foods and lean protein can have a positive impact on gut health.
I’m not going to tell you to go vegan. I know it’s a better way. I know it is. I’ve seen a life improve immensely by switching to a plant-based diet. You know what? I like steak. Not often. But I like it.
I also, occasionally, deal with diverticulitis. With me, it starts out with a crap-ton of stress, and then diet changes, and then I stop drinking enough water. Hopefully, now that I’ve identified the pattern, I can avoid it next time, but that’s a story for another day.
Diets with lots of fiber have proven to have incredible effects in healing or avoiding diverticulitis.
With the last flare, I went proactive right away. Fiber, hydration, regular small feedings of my body. Feedings of the right kinds of foods.
I also used activated charcoal to clean things out, and continued with hydration, fiber, and digestive enzymes, to make sure everything was working as it should. I then added several strains of friendly bacteria for repopulation purposes. While still not 100% recovered, I’m at least 60% ahead of where I would be without this gut reboot process. I’m super pleased with the results of these products, as well as how quickly my body responded to them in such a positive way. Definitely something to keep in the arsenal for maintaining quality health.
My friends at Gut Garden offer a three-level program to get your gut clean and populated with the right stuff. I used it and enjoyed 45% faster healing and improvement on my latest DV flare. You can Google them, sure. I got their products on Amazon.
Here are the links to each of the products that make up their trifecta:
Activated Charcoal, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DHX671C
Digestive Enzymes, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07D7JWXFM
Perfect Probiotics, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FTTYFNR
So … in short … you can change a lot of things, with minimal effort, to improve how you feel, your overall health and your gut health. This is something you can do for yourself that will not only have a lasting impact, but something from which you can experience very quick results.