NUTRITION: GUT HEALTH
Bacteria pretty much run the show! The gut is home to trillions of microbes that outnumber the body’s cells by 10 to 1.
We co-exist with about 300-500 different species of bacteria. Think of those G O O D bacteria as your skin’s best helpers! More and more studies are showing the nature of that bacteria can affect our health, our skin, the way we feel. To look and feel our best, we aim for a predominance of good bacteria over the bad bacteria, including pathogens, fungi and yeasts (such as candida). An abundance of bad bacteria and not enough good can contribute significantly to skin problems, from acne, rosacea, premature aging of the skin, lackluster skin and flagging energy amongst other health and beauty issues.
Here are my top, top TIPS to get glowing / happy + heal your gut / /
1. Eat wholefoods: Eating well encourages the growth of good bacteria. Try to go the low HI approach – opt for low human intervention foods. That means eating plenty of whole foods that are provided by nature, N O T foods that are tainted by human hands or processed in a lab! (I try to avoid anything in packages as much as possible! Unless it's raw crackers or raw chocolate.)
2. De-stress: Yoga, meditation, walking, loving and being kind to yourself all help encourage beneficial flora. They are not big fans of stress!!! B R E A T H E.
3. Probiotics: The proven strains of good bacteria include lactobacillus and bifidobacterium species. You can find them in yoghurts and probiotic drinks but be careful that those products are not also full of gut depleting sugar. Probiotic supplements can be helpful + necessary, but I am also a big fan of consuming fermented foods to get natural viable bacteria in my gut.
4. Fermented foods: Have you ever wondered why women from Eastern Europe and Asia have radiant skin? The answer may lie in sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and miso. These are lacto-fermented foods. The lacto-fermentation process (different to other fermentation processes such as alcohol fermentation) creates a broad range of beneficial bacteria. The proliferation of lactobacilli in lacto-fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut for example, predigests the cabbage making digestion easier and nutrients more available to the body to utilise. The process also creates good bacteria that helps to re-colonise the gut.
The gut is where we make neurotransmitters, so the health of our gut affects the WAY WE FEEL! This is HUGE. This is why doctors refer to it as our second brain, again this is no joke. So balancing our gut will give us vitality and positivity to help us feel better about our skin and health without any special treatments.
M O R E of my Tips on how to beautify your gut…
-Eat low HI – low human intervention foods.
-Eat foods rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics help boost the growth of friendly bacteria. These include non-digestible food substances found in asparagus, bananas, endive, chicory, garlic, globe and jerusalem artichokes, kefir, leeks, onions, sauerkraut, shallots and yoghurt.
-Eat lacto-fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir. The combination of prebiotics and probiotics helps promote a healthy gut more than either consumed alone.
-Favour organic foods - they’re far richer in nutrients and free of nasty chemicals that compromise gut health.
-If your gut is in bad repair, it may take a while for it to heal and get your own digestive enzymes working efficiently. Digestive enzymes may be helpful for a period of time.
-Eat smaller meals and chew food slowly so it liquefies before you swallow. Saliva contains digestive enzymes that help break down foods.
-Avoid drinking with your meal as it dilutes digestive enzymes.
-Acidity in the body encourages unfriendly bacteria. Reduce acidity in the body by eating more alkalising foods including your green leafy veggies and reduce your intake of acid forming foods.
-Try not to eat when you are angry or stressed as your body’s fight or flight response predominates at those times, meaning digestion is not a priority and is slowed.
-Grains provide a great source of fibre to aid detoxification, but can be hard for some people to digest and contain anti-nutrients. If you consume grains, either soak them or ferment them to make them easier to digest. Doing this helps to neutralise anti-nutrients too. It may be worth avoiding them for a while in the initial stages of healing gut health. ( I personally still find grains hard to digest- even quinoa + millet. I only have them once/twice a week)
-Lemon juice helps stimulate digestion. A shot of lemon juice before all meals can be a good aid to digestion!
-Gluten and dairy sensitivities are quite common, so these kinds of foods are probably best avoided as they contain proteins that are hard to digest.
-Vegetables are best steamed or sautéed as an excess of raw vegetables can weaken digestion! STILL eat your raw veggies in salad form, but if you're having a rough time digesting them, steam them very lightly.
-Other beneficial gut foods include chlorophyll rich greens such as celery, alfalfa and sea vegetables as well as fibre rich foods and green tea.
-Stop bad bacteria in their tracks; avoid refined foods and sugar.
-Coconut oil + Coconut meat (my favvvvvv!) is helpful for gut health as it contains lauric acid, which is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.
-Herbs that may aid digestive health include: fennel (fennel tea after dinner is gold), chamomile, ginger, peppermint, lemon verbena, lemon balm, dandelion root, yellow dock, gentian root, slippery elm, licorice root, meadowsweet, oregano, garlic, pau d’arco, ginseng.
It might seem a lot to wrap your head around at first, but soon some of these will become second nature. I'm finding all too often in practice that people have A LOT of gut issues. Even if you're eating Organic, natural, raw, whole foods, if you AREN'T digesting + absorbing properly and optimally, it's truly a 'waste'. SO let's get our guts in gear.
Let me know if you have any questions!
love & light