Everything that you are is a result of what you digest and absorb, so when we hear the saying “you are what you eat” it’s probably more like, “you are what you digest and absorb”.
In essence, your body has two brains, the second being the body’s gut. So, our gut is essential in helping us to maintain a good state of health.
Digestion is the mechanism that turns the food we eat into fuel for our cells. It’s not uncommon for people to suffer with poor digestion. Have you ever felt fatigued, suffered with brain fuzz, felt constantly bloated, experienced constipation, diarrhoea? If so, it’s likely you have poor digestion.
There is increasing evidence to suggest that irritation in the gastrointestinal system may send signals to the central nervous system that trigger mood changes. This may also explain why a higher-than-normal percentage of people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and functional bowel problems develop depression and anxiety.
Improving your digestion can improve your mental health. Diversity is the key here, so eat your way through the rainbow! In addition to eating a well balanced diet, what else can you do to start repairing your gut health?
7 Tips to Start Improving Your Gut Health:
1 – The JS Health program is a great place to start for repairing your gut health. I came across Jessica Sepel last year and have read both her books, The Healthy Life and Living The Healthy Life. Reading Jessica’s story and following her user-friendly tips and recipes has been a game changer for me.
2 – You don’t have to be frequenting the health food stores for activated almond milk and living off chia seeds (or whatever the current vegan organic all natural fad is). You can get most products from your local supermarket or chemist.
3 – If you can only manage one change to your gut health, then make it the introduction of a probiotic to your daily routine. I promise you will really notice a difference. Gut-dwelling bacteria keep pathogens (harmful microorganisms) in check, aid digestion and nutrient absorption, and contribute to immune function. Although probiotics are not a miracle cure, they will help to set up a good foundation of healthy microflora in your gut. Consistantly taking a daily probiotic has been essential for my recovery from PNDA.
4 – Lemon juice helps stimulate digestion – Increase stomach acid by drinking warm lemon water before meals and drizzling apple cider vinegar on your greens.
5 – Gluten and dairy sensitivities are quite common, so these kinds of foods are probably best avoided whilst trying to repair your gut health, as they contain proteins that are hard to digest. Avoid gluten and dairy for a period of two weeks, and make note of how you feel in yourself. Slowly reintroduce these foods back into your diet and record any symptoms.
6 – Fermented dairy such as yoghurt are easier to digest. If you are going to add yoghurt, opt for a natural greek yoghurt as it contains a lot less sugar.
7 – Finally, take care of your stress levels! it goes both ways, stress influences the digestive system, and the digestive system influences stress. When the fight or flight response is activated this can shutdown digestion. So, make time for self care and stress reduction in your life. Implementing some basic mindfulness techniques can help to reduce stress.
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