NUTRITION: WHY YOUR GUT SHOULD BE YOUR BEST FRIEND
photo via Sakaralife
Hey Guys! I hope everyone had a beautiful week. Sorry for being a little MIA. It was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend and I took a mini getaway to Ottawa, which is such a beautiful city. My boyfriend is from there, and we went to spend time with his family, who are unreal. We had amazing dinners, laughs and time together. We are entering into holiday season though which means endless events, holiday parties, dinners and celebrations. Heaps of food will be consumed, and I'm sure many treats, desserts and drinks will be had too! Which is why I want to really hone in on digestion, it is the cornerstone of everything in your body, as your microbiome hosts trillions of bacteria and outnumbers any other cell in your body.
Think for a minute about your gut health. Do things run smoothly? Do you get bloated constantly? Are you constipated? Are you regular? Do you get stomach pains? How do you feel after you eat?...
Take your time and get to know your body. It’s telling you something. Always. Tune in, take notice. When a digestive system is unhealthy it is most definitely giving us the signs. The trouble is, we hardly recognize them. For a system that can affect our mood, skin, energy and immunity, spending a little time to get to know it will do a world of good. Getting your gut in order, can literally change your overall daily life.
What does a healthy digestive system look like? And does Your looks like this?
A healthy digestive system is brimming with life. Trillions of bacterial colonies co-existing in harmony and enjoying the nutrients they need to thrive.
There is no inflammation or irritation of intestinal walls and food moves through your stomach and intestines with ease. Well-formed motions are passed at least once per day and the experiences of gas, bloating and indigestion are absent.
If yours does not look or feel like this it is time to get it into line. With over 60% of our immunity residing in our guts, and 80% of our Serotonin aka Our Happiness it must be working smoothly to achieve optimal health.
Gut health is paramount to your entire experience of wellness. These are a few non-negotiables I recommend people include in every healthy diet, and really emphasise when the gut is needing some TLC:
Probiotics: these are the beneficial bacteria that form your gut flora or microbiota. The best sources are fermented foods such as yoghurt and kefir (from dairy or non-dairy sources), sauerkraut, miso and tempeh.
Prebiotics: these act as food for the probiotics, promoting their growth. Fibrous plant based sources are ideal, such as green vegetables, apples, cruciferous veggies (brussel sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli) and aromatic veggies such as onion and garlic.
Soothing foods: if your gut is irritated and inflamed, nature offers some lovely soothing options such as slippery elm, yoghurts (hormone free and organic) and kefirs.
Fibre: daily fibre is crucial to provide the ‘intestinal broom’ to keep things moving along nicely. Soluble fibre, which absorbs water, is ideal. Include plenty of chia and flax seeds, a little psyllium hulls, fruits and veggies.
Good fats: good fats provide essential lubrication for your intestines and omega-3 fats offer anti-inflammatory properties. Emphasize omega-3 sources in your diet: chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, dark leafy greens and sustainable fish oils (salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring). Consume moderate amounts of avocados, olive oil, coconut oil and butter/ghee for saturated fats, omega-6 and-9 fatty acids.
Hydration: people tend to recognise the importance of staying hydrated, but don’t always put into practise. A bare minimum of 1.5 litres of water daily is necessary to provide your digestive tract with the lubrication it needs and support your general vitality.
Now for what to consume in moderation or completely eliminate if you are experiencing extreme distress, discomfort and imbalances.
I am a big believer in individuality when it comes to our diet,espsecially when looking at digestive health. Everyone’s experience is unique, and even if symptoms are similar they may often be from different causative factors. There are, however a few known triggers to be wary of if you are sensitive:
Gluten: Studies have shown a gluten-free diet to positively influence immunity, support gut bacteria and reduce intestinal permeability (leaky gut).
Alcohol: Sensitive stomachs can struggle with the acidity of alcohol. Regular consumption or binge drinking can impair liver function, governing entire wellbeing. Its also important to be conscious of both the sugar content of alcohol and the fact it is a diuretic. (have a drink, than a glass of water, etc... always hydrate as alcohol is extremely dehyrating).
Sugar: Processed sugar should be off everyone’s radar, however if you are quite sensitive even some sugars found in natural sweetener and fruits should be limited. Sugar also acts as food for Candida, a common cause of digestive imbalance.
Food additives: The chemical cocktail of colours, preservatives and flavour enhancers can trigger food sensitivities. Being a conscious consumer of packaged foods and simply avoiding any highly processed foods is the best solution here!
I hope this helps some of you who are many struggling with your gut. I truly believe once we get this into gear, a whole heap of other things start to fall into place.
The holidays are also just around the corner so it's important to start addressing this now, as I know you will be met with many occasions, treats, temptations, indulging, and celebrating! If you have a healthy gut than a small treat here and there will be welcomed. But with a imbalanced and unhappy microbiome could leave you in distress for days.
Have a beautiful start to your weekend!