Our bodies are some of the most amazing and complex machines. Each of our bodies are inherently unique, which makes it challenging to diagnose and treat conditions. Much of western medicine focuses on treating symptoms (there's a pill for everything!) and not the root issue of what is causing those symptoms to occur. Good news for big pharma. Bad news for us.
Because western medicine mostly treat symptoms, it's been my mission to help others understand their bodies better and to try alternative methods to heal the body.
Did know that as much as 80% of our immune health is in our gut?! Immune health and the gut are inextricably linked. The gut is an entry point where bacteria and viruses enter. So illnesses occur when the gut isn't healthy enough to fight them off. The gut contains special 'friendly' flora that are like the keepers of our immune systems and help our bodies absorb nutrients from food. Friendly flora is compromised by factors such as processed foods, stress, antibiotics, sugar, gluten and dairy, just to name a few of the biggest culprits.
Infographic source: Liz Lipski, PhD, CCN, CNS, LDN
When the gut has too much of any of these culprits, it can cause many issues such as migraines, eczema, psoriasis, digestive issues, chronic fatigue, allergies and the list goes on. But what most people don't realize is that the gut is also responsible for much of our mental health. So much so that the gut is often referred to as the "second brain". This means that an unhealthy gut can easily cause anxiety, depression and brain fog. Often times, people don't make the connection between the gut and mental health, so in many cases, these disorders can be prevented with some lifestyle changes.
So what steps can we take to repair and nourish our gut?
Let me first say that ALL of us should consider our gut health, even if there are no symptoms or any issues. With the rise of processed foods, stress and increased rates of inflammation, our bodies are always the first to be compromised. Keeping a healthy gut now will save us a lot of headache (literally and figuratively) later. Here are three easy things that you can do right now to take care of your gut:
- Probiotic supplement. Taking one first thing in the morning on an empty stomach allows for faster absorption. Probiotics contain millions of strains of the "good" bacteria that many people are lacking in their guts.
- Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods have been consumed for thousands of years by our ancestors. These foods also contain "good" bacteria such as: sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, pickled vegetables, yogurt and kim chee.
- Don't forget prebiotics! These are carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the body, but act as food for the probiotics. These include foods like garlic, onions, leeks, fruits and vegetables. Prebiotics and probiotics work hand in hand for a health gut.
The above, along with other healthy lifestyle behaviors such as regular exercise, fresh fruits/vegetables and low stress environments are all critical to maintain a balanced gut.
Don't underestimate your gut, or your "second brain". It's a crucial part of your well-being and health.
Have you had any experiences with gut health? I'd love to hear about them, comment below!