Need to Improve Your Gut Health? Here’s How!
By Cindy Santa Ana
Roughly 70% of your immune system resides in your gut. A vibrant, healthy gut is critical to your overall health and an unhealthy gut contributes to a wide range of diseases including diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, autism spectrum disorder, depression and chronic fatigue syndrome. And that’s not all.
Your gut is home to over 100 trillion microorganisms! The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all the human cells in the entire body, with over 400 known diverse bacterial species. That’s why it’s absolutely critical that we feed these guys with high-quality food and supplements.
There are, however, some things in our modern lives that destroy our gut flora, which include:
- Prescription medicines, like NSAIDS
- Toxins in our food, water and environment
- GMO foods
- High sugar diet
- Standard American Diet of highly processed carbs, industrial oils like soy and canola, processed and artificial sugar and refined grains
The good news is that it is possible to correct many of the diseases and imbalances caused by not-so-healthy lifestyle factors, such as:
- Consider alternative healing methods like oregano oil or olive leaf extract before taking an antibiotic (consult your doctor first).
- Take steps to manage stress with yoga, meditation or deep breathing practices.
- Consider using essential oils to ease inflammation or pain and potentially reduce your reliance on prescription medicine.
- Go room by room in your home and read every label to find hidden toxins like fragrance in room sprays, parabens in lotions, toxins in cleaning supplies, etc… then get rid of them!
- Read labels in your kitchen and avoid foods genetically-modified foods (GMO’s), commonly found in things like soy, canola, cottonseed, beet sugar and corn. Consider purchasing organic whenever possible.
- Review your current diet and determine where sugar is hiding and how you can lower your intake of added sugars (like those found in ketchup and peanut butter) and upgrade your diet to whole, clean foods instead.
Supplementing your diet with probiotic-rich foods and supplements can help boost your gut flora and support overall health.
Here’s what you can do to boost the number of beneficial organisms:
- Eat probiotic-rich foods like kefir, plain organic yogurt with live cultures, raw sauerkraut, fermented vegetables, kimchi and kombucha.
- Choose a high-quality probiotic if you can’t consume or don’t like fermented foods.
How to choose a quality Probiotic:
Did you know that certain strains of bacteria are responsible for specific immune responses in the body?
For example, bifidobacterium breve helps colonize a healthy gut community and crowd out bad bacteria and lactobacillus rhamnosus supports bacterial balance and healthy skin, helps fight urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and reduces anxiety by reducing stress hormones and GABA neurotransmitter receptors. It also survives the GI tract.
Your gut is a rockstar. Taking care of it should be a daily priority. So grab some probiotics and include some of the upgrades mentioned above and be well on your way to a happier, healthier body!
Cindy Santa Ana is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in weight loss, clean eating transformations and thyroid disease. She works with clients to help them reach their ideal weight, increase their energy, and live a healthy balanced lifestyle, while juggling their career and personal life.
Latest posts by Cindy Santa Ana (see all)
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS