The Importance of Gut Health
Did you know that good gut health can improve your overall health and well-being? It literally impacts everything in your body! When you hear about gut health, it’s important to know that this is referring to your digestive system and something called the gut microbiome.
In fact, there has been and currently is a lot of research regarding the gut microbiome and its importance in digestion, metabolism, your immune system and even your mental health. Simply put, the gut microbiome is a system located in your large intestine and is the home tore trillions of microorganisms that help support millions of processes inside your body – like your brain, muscles, skin, blood circulation. Nourishing your gut daily helps it nourish everything else. So it makes a lot of sense that when the gut microbiome is healthy, it can impact overall health. With that in mind, what are some simple steps that you can take today to keep your gut healthy?
#1 Eat nutrient dense foods like a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. 9 out of 10 Americans do not get the proper amount of daily nutrients. Adding nutrient dense foods to your diet fuels your gut with critical nutrients that it needs to support a healthy microbiome.
#2 Eat more fiber – Did you know that about 5% of the US population actually eats enough dietary fiber each day? It’s critical for good health, helping move toxins from the gut and feeding the good bacteria. It can also help with heart health and blood sugar indicators
#3 Take probiotics or eat foods that are probiotic in nature like: sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt with active cultures. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help keep your gut in balance and supports your immune system and inflammation.
#4 Consider cutting back on the alcohol in your diet. Researchers have found that alcohol and its metabolites promote intestinal inflammation. Reducing your intake can decrease sources of gut inflammation and help your gut focus on optimizing its performance across all your other systems.
#5 Work on ways to reduce/eliminate stress. Your body thinks there is a threat when you are under stress. While no one can remove stress entirely from their life, finding ways to manage and process it are crucial for your well-being. For example, mediation, exercise and even a long talk with a good friend can all be ways to help reduce your stress levels.
#6. Get enough sleep – between 7-9 hours each night. Research has shown that your circadian rhythm (while sleeping) and your microbial rhythm (in your gut) greatly influence each other and if you aren’t sleeping well, the gut has a harder time performing its job well of supporting the millions of processes in your body.
Your digestive system is complex – it breaks down everything you consume into proteins, fats, carbohydrates, and other nutrients for your entire body to function properly, providing energy and building or repairing cells. A healthy gut allows good molecules to get into the body and keeps most of the bad molecules out.
Think of your gut health as a command center and disease fighter – good gut health keeps the command center and disease fighter working for you! So, you can see how important it is to keep your gut healthy and making changes in your lifestyle and diet can make all the difference.