HOW (AND WHY) TO IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH
WHAT IS GUT HEALTH?
In times long left to the history books, the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Gut health isn’t necessarily about losing weight or detoxing, but rather about our bodies’ relationship with our gut, and the role our digestive system plays in the core functionality of every major biological system we have.
What started as anecdotal evidence among health coaches and dietitians has evolved into an international conversation and scientific study about the body’s relationship between gut health and systemic function.
Gut health is related to what we eat and the overall state of our stomach and digestive system. At the risk of putting it too simply, it’s a delicate balance of having enough good bacteria around, limiting sugars that feed the bad stuff, and limiting your exposure to autoimmune triggers and toxins.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GUT HEALTH
If there’s one thing I am comfortable about hanging my hat on here, it’s that a balanced, less-toxic diet and lifestyle can’t possible be a bad thing.
If you suspect your gut health could use some work, talk to your doctor, run some tests, and then discuss making a few of these changes.
#1 — EAT ORGANIC FOODS
Pesticides have been linked repeatedly to autoimmune disease. Buy organic produce, eat cleaner foods, and always remember that pesticide use doesn’t end with your food — your mattress and clothing are worth buying organic as well.
#2 — KNOW YOUR HEAVY METALS
Heavy metal toxicity is a common trigger of autoimmune dysfunction, and they can hide just about anywhere. Go through your home and evaluate everything you and your family are exposed to for possible heavy metals (especially those cosmetics):
Cosmetics and personal care products
Pesticides and lawn care products
#3 — MINIMIZE TRIGGER FOODS
Just like with migraines and diabetic episodes, autoimmune dysfunction and leaky gut can be triggered by certain foods. While there is no hard and fast set of dietary guidelines for good gut health, you’ll want to watch your intake of these foods:
Refined sugar (sorry, cupcakes)
Artificial flavors and colors
#4 — CONSIDER A DETOX
Okay, so let’s get this out in the open right now: Detoxing is no joke. Don’t do it without talking to your doctor, and definitely don’t do it if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
The thing is, it works, and that means that you get those toxins out of your tissues, and need to do so in a way that helps your body eliminate them as waste — not reabsorb them all at once.
Always detox slow and gently with the guidance of a physician. Start with detox foods, and talk to your doctor about getting onto a protocol, like the one Amy Myers MD offers.
#5 — GOBBLE UP THE GOOD BACTERIA
Finally, the good news: eating is totally good for gut health. Namely, eating up all of those awesome, super beneficial bacterium. Stock up on these pantry essentials, and let them worm their funky flavor into every meal you make (because anything fermented is a winner in my book):
Fermented foods (hellllllo kimchi)
Apple cider vinegar
Raw dairy products
Fresh herbs and spices