Hey guys! Happy Monday! I’m sorry this post is up so late, I have been working on some exciting new projects and the time just flew by! I can’t wait to show you all what I’ve been working on! In the meantime, this weeks post is all about your gut! I know, I know, it doesn’t sound all that exciting, but taking care of your gut is super important for your overall health. Your gut controls a lot of essential functions in your body, and when it gets thrown off, your whole body can get thrown off! So it’s super important to know how to keep it healthy.
As a side note, I have struggled with my gut health for about 4 years (ever since I went on birth control) so this is a subject I am very informed on! I have seen two gastroenterologists that have performed dozens of tests and given me a lot of information on how to help my gut, and the information I’m giving you is what has helped me the most. However, I am NOT a doctor, and if you are having serious troubles with your gut, I highly suggest getting the opinion of a professional.
1. Eat all your fruits and veggies
This has absolutely, without a doubt, been the most helpful tip for me when it comes to taking care of my digestive system. After I moved out of my parents house, I didn’t really buy fruits and veggies all that much because they would go bad before I could eat them, so I just stopped. Huge mistake. In the last year, I make sure to get at least three servings of fruit and three servings of veggies every day, and it has made a world of a difference for my gut.
Fruits and vegetables have fiber in them, which helps with having healthier, easier to pass stools. They are also loaded with essential micro-nutrients that are going to keep your body functioning properly; certain fruits and veggies also contain pre-biotics, which are essential in keeping the healthy bacteria in your gut happy.
Here are some of my favorite fruits and vegetables that have been shown to be packed with the most helpful nutrients for your gut:
- Green peas
2. Take a probiotic
Probiotics are live micro-organisms (usually bacteria) that have a specific health benefit when consumed. The bacteria in them don’t stay in your intestines permanently, but some studies have shown them to benefit your microbiota by changing it’s overall composition, which will help boost your metabolism.
Studies have shown that probiotics have little effect on a healthy gut, but in cases where the gut was compromised, probiotics were shown to help get the bacteria in the gut back to normal.
Certain probiotics are meant to help with specific health issues, so if you are interested in taking one, make sure to do your research and figure out what type of bacteria your specific issue requires.
3. Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, and kefir, are made through a process that usually involves bacteria and yeasts converting sugars in food to organic acids and alcohols. Many of these foods are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria beneficial to your health.
Specifically, people who consume yogurt have been shown to have an increased amount of lactobacilli in their stomach, and a decreased number of Enterobacteriaceae, which is a bacteria associated with inflammation in the gut. Other studies have been done that show consumption of yogurt can help with symptoms of lactose intolerance through the modification of certain intestinal bacteria.
It should be noted that most store-bought yogurts are very high in sugars and artificial flavor, so the best yogurt to consume is plain, natural yogurt. I’ve found adding it to smoothies is a great way to make it taste good and still be able to get the benefits!
4. Chamomile tea
Chamomile tea has been shown to reduce inflammation in your gut. It also helps with sleep and relaxation, so I find I can fall asleep faster if I have a cup right before bed. I try to consume one every night, especially if I have eaten super greasy foods or a lot of dairy that day. I really think it has helped the discomfort in my gut substantially.
5. Avoid stress triggers
Stress is something that can really throw off the hormones in your gut that help it function properly. I know when I am stressed I am much more likely to have stomach issues. With that being said, I know it is hard to just not be stressed. However, making sure to take care of your mental and emotional health when you can is super important.
Try to do at least one thing for yourself every day, even if it’s just drinking a cup of tea before bed. Meditation and journaling are also great ways to de-stress. Try not to let stress build up, and when it’s possible, avoid stressful situations. This is going to help keep your gut from being thrown off.
Moving your body increases blood flow towards the digestive tract which helps the food move through the body more efficiently. Exercise has also been shown to alleviate heartburn, gas, stomach cramps, and constipation, which is going to make you feel a lot better.
I know I talk about exercising a lot, but it really has so many health benefits that I really want to emphasize how important it is to include it into your routine. I made a post a few weeks ago (Fitness Tips for Beginners) if you have been wanting to start an exercise routine but don’t know where to start!
8. Take care of your mental health
Your digestive system is often referred to as your second brain because of the hundreds of millions of neurons connecting the brain to the enteric nervous system (which is the system that controls your gastrointestinal system). The neurons, hormones, and chemical neurotransmitters in this circuit allow for the brain to receive messages about your gut, but also allow for the brain to directly impact the environment of your gut.
This is just one of the many reasons why it’s important to take care of your mental health. If your brain is thrown off, it can impact your entire body. If you need some self-care tips, you can check out my post 10 Ways to Practice Self-Care.
When I began taking care of myself both mentally and physically, my gut started to feel a lot better.
8. Eat slowly
Eating 5 smaller meals throughout the day instead of 3 large ones makes it a lot easier for your digestive system to not get overwhelmed. It will make the food move through your body more effortlessly, which will help with a lot of the discomfort associated with gut problems. Also, while you eat, make sure to take smaller bites and chew completely. This will help you take in less air as you eat, which will help with gas and bloating, and it will also make it easier for your stomach to digest the food you’ve consumed.
A tip to help you eat slower is to make sure you eat before you get too hungry, that way you’re not scarfing down your food. Eating slower will also help you not overeat, because overeating also makes it hard for your digestive system to do it’s job properly.
That’s all I have for you today! Again, I am sorry this post is up so late. Let me know what you think it the comments; I’d love to know if you have any tips on healthy digestion! Be sure to subscribe to the blog to make sure you never miss any posts! I hope you have a great week!