Hey Tranquility Tribe! This week we’re going straight for the gut - HeHe has enlisted Liz Bane, a wellness concierge and a holistic health coach certified by the Institute of Integrated Nutrition to help us understand this often mentioned yet often misunderstood system in our bodies. Liz is here to share all her best tips and tricks to helping your gut function at its optimal ability!
So what exactly is your gut? Your gut starts at the back of your throat in your esophagus, goes down to your stomach, through your large and small intestine and out the back where you go to the bathroom. It is the largest organ in your body, second only to your skin! The health of the gut impacts your entire well-being, from your brain to your muscles to your moods. By caring for your gut, you’re caring for your entire body, and this is why it’s so important for a pregnant person to care for their gut! A healthy gut is an essential aspect of making a baby, growing a baby, breastfeeding a baby, or just being yourself!
The gut and the brain are connected through the vagus nerve - if you have a healthy gut, the nerve is sending healthy and positive messages between your brain and your gut. You’ll feel the yearn to exercise, to mediate, to eat some greens, and to get a good night’s sleep. However, if you have a compromised, or commonly referred to as “leaky” gut, you’ll get the opposite of these messages - you’ll feel stressed and you’ll want to eat potato chips for breakfast and eat a bottle of wine at night after sitting in front of the TV all day.
The Leaky Gut
There are a multitude of warning signs of a leaky gut. You could experience anything from headaches and migraines to asthma and allergies to a multitude of digestive issues - the list goes on and on. A leaky gut could even manifest itself in things as serious as autoimmune disorders and issues concerning mental health. If a leaky gut is sending negative messages to your brain, producing stress and craving carbs, this could severely impact your mood and even result in depressive or anxiety disorders.
What we put on the end of our fork and into our mouths directly impacts our health both today and well into our futures. Our gut lining breaks down through the more junk that we put in our body, and this becomes more and more apparent as we age. A person who chooses to eat fast food and chips and garbage everyday might be fine in their 20s and 30s, but eventually this slow, negative burn in the body that can lead to inflammation and disease.
Tips for a Healthy Gut
Liz suggests four aspects to work on when it comes to improving gut health - environment, antibiotics, stress, and diet. She stresses that while you don’t necessarily have control of the world outside your home, you have full control of the substances you choose to have in your home. It’s so important to look into what you’re putting into your home through your cleaning products, your laundry products, and even your makeup - cleaning these up can make an extreme difference in the health of your body. In terms of antibiotics, Liz stresses that while not all antibiotics are bad and sometimes our bodies really need them, it’s important to use them at as minimal a level as possible. In terms of our stress levels, they have a direct impact on our gut, and Liz suggests that we consider everything we can to help those levels go down. From mediation and yoga to herbal teas and essential oils. Finally, food is something that we put into our bodies everyday that can either heal or harm us, and when it comes to feeding our gut and helping build a health microbiome for our bodies, there’s a lot we can do to help out!
Feeding The Gut
So what can we put into our bodies the can help our guts thrive? Liz says that leafy greens are the number one tool to helping our guts function at their best - feeding your body leafy greens is like feeding soil sun and water. Other gut essentials include bone broth, collagen powder, apple cider vinegar, and fermented items like kombucha. Any type of whole, real foods are not only good for our gut but act as anti-inflammatory boosters for our bodies overall. Vegetables are the best way we can consume real, whole foods!
Supplements are great for helping our guts heal too, particularly probiotics, which can help our bodies digest all the unnatural foods that our society pushes on us today. Omega-3 fatty acids and L-glutamine are also great supplements to consider, but as always, consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement!
Let it Heal!
Our guts can heal themselves very quickly - if only we give them the chance! Liz suggests dedicating even just a week of your life to cutting out sugar and processed foods and replacing them with healthy fats like avocado and nuts and seeds, lean protein, and leafy greens to give your gut the chance to heal. Combine this with increased fluid intake and a probiotic and your gut, brain, and body will be forever thankful!
If you want to connect with Liz, you can find her at her website, www.lblifeinbalance.com. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram at @lizbanelifeinbalance.
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