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How to Completely Change Your Health by Simply Healing Your Gut

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

Diabetes, heart disease, acne, depression and anxiety-- it ALL starts in the gut. Fixing your gut can fix your health-- no matter what the issue is!




WHAT IS GUT HEALTH?

When referring to “gut health” people are referring mostly to your small intestines. Since that is where over 90% of your nutrients are absorbed in the body. What happens in the small and large intestines can affect so much of your health. Digestion is merely mechanical until this point in the digestive process. There are also billions of “gut” bacteria in your small intestines that determine so much of your health. This is what we call the “gut microbiome”. The intestines are an environment for healthy bacteria to either thrive or be damaged by what you consume. Think of your gut as a garden. Gardens need good soil, water, plant food, sunshine, weeding, and compost in order to thrive much like our bodies need water, sunshine, nutritious foods, and exercise in order to thrive. Gardens can also be damaged by things like weather, animals, over-watering, toxins, etc. Much like our bodies can be damaged by toxins, overeating, not exercising, too much sugar,etc. It all starts in the gut.


WHY IS GUT HEALTH IMPORTANT? WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR WOMEN?

  1. Gut health can have a direct impact on your digestion. If you have ever had issues with constipation, cramping, bloating, diarrhea, IBS, or any other related issues, you know how debilitating this can be.

  2. The surface area of your small intestines can cover an entire tennis court if it were all spread out. That is how much surface area you have to absorb nutrients so that your body can turn that food into fuel, use it for molecular functions, and eventually make tissues and maintain cell growth from that food. Nutrition is the most important. We are what we eat. And it is scary because it’s harder than ever to eat healthy in our society and know what we are putting into our bodies. We need to be more intentional.

  3. We are almost more bacteria than we are human– we have that much bacteria and microorganism in and on our bodies! They aid with skin health, how our genetics present themselves, breakdown of nutrients, balancing out hormones, fighting off of bad viruses and bacteria, etc.


WHAT AREAS OF MY BODY ARE AFFECTED BY GUT HEALTH?

  1. Brain

  2. Skin and nails

  3. Bones

  4. Blood sugar

  5. Adrenals and hormone balance

  6. Digestive system (obviously)

  7. When we eat foods that are inflammatory: sugar, gluten, sometimes dairy, harmful preservatives and additives; we can often have inflammatory cytokines. Which are cell proteins that if inflamed too much– can cause autoimmune responses such as thyroid diseases and PCOS, etc

  8. Anxiety and depression. I have seen this in my own life. After disordered eating and then being on anxiety medicine in college, I finally started letting myself eat more and started eating more gut friendly foods, and I have found improvements in this area. I have not taken anti anxiety medicine in 4 years. I can still notice even small differences I notice whenever I eat more sugar or drink alcohol in my anxiety and moods as well as brain function.


SIGNS OF POOR GUT HEALTH

  1. Acne/Irritations

  2. Irregular bowel movements

  3. Gas/Bloating and discomfort

  4. Anxiety / Mood Changes

  5. Energy levels are low

  6. Autoimmune problems

  7. Heartburn

  8. Food intolerance

  9. Trouble sleeping

  10. Migraines


SIGNS OF GOOD GUT HEALTH

  1. Good bowel movements with healthy stool

  2. Less bloating or discomfort after eating

  3. Good skin health

  4. Clear mind with less or no brain fog

  5. Higher Energy levels

  6. No adverse food reactions

  7. Good responses to stress


NUTRITION - foods to add to your diet

Soluble Fiber vs Insoluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves with the foods that you eat in the intestines and gives softness to your stool so that it is easier to pass.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool so that more stool can be passed.

Both of these help with feeding the gut microbiome. Both are found in fruits and vegetables, and both help with blood sugar control.

Carbohydrates

  • Oatmeal

  • Rice

  • Sprouted bread and Sourdough bread

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Quinoa

  • Barley

  • Other starchy vegetables like corn, squash, etc

Vegetables

  • Fermented Vegetables (kimchi, sauerkraut, etc)

  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc)

  • Colorful vegetables

  • Locally grown produce because it has grown in the same environment as you

  • Pretty much all vegetables are good, if you want to know the truth

Fruits

  • All fruits are good, however, here are some fruits to get you started:

  • Bananas

  • Peaches

  • blueberries and raspberries for antioxidants

  • Strawberries for vitamin C

  • Apples for fiber

  • Citrus fruits to cook with a for vitamin C

  • Anything local to you. (Peaches, figs, and berries are local to me.)

Fats/Oils

  • Olive oil

  • Ghee

  • High quality butter (grass fed)

  • Avocado oil

  • Grapeseed oil

  • No seed oils!! (PUFAS)

SUGAR, DAIRY, GLUTEN AND OTHER CONTROVERSIAL FOODS

Before reading this section. Please note that if you have Celiac Disease or allergies to dairy or gluten– it is completely acceptable to eliminate them from your diet completely.


Sugar - highly processed sugar or sugar without protein/fat/fiber attached along with it is horrible for the gut. Period. All parts of the body work together. Blood glucose spikes are not the only issue with sugar. Sugar messes up the gut flora and then sends signals to the brain (from the dopamine hit that we get from them) that signals more hunger, more cravings, bloating, food addiction, and overconsumption of food.


Dairy - There is so much controversy among dairy. It is more political than scientific at this point, honestly. Dairy is not bad for you. It is the amount that you have in your diet. If you eat tons of dairy– you will feel awful. It is meant to be in moderation. However, dairy has amazing fat soluble vitamins and other nutrients in it that adds to our health. The more research I read, the more that I am willing to try raw milk. Based on my research, the pasteurization and homogenization of dairy products has not only destroyed many of the nutrients in the cow’s milk, but has also broken the fat molecules down into smaller sizes so that it is more easily absorbed in the body. Whereas prior to processing, we would absorb milk product’s vitamins and minerals and defecate some of the fat and extra calories. Now that we have pasteurization and homogenization, we absorb more fat along with less vitamins and minerals.


Gluten - In college, I read a study where a number of participants were found to have gluten intolerances only AFTER avoiding gluten for a prolonged period of time. Meaning that the gut microbiome was no longer used to breaking down gluten, causing gluten-allergy-like symptoms. Since then, I have grown in practice and I have also learned that gluten and processed wheat can be inflammatory to the gut and the rest of the body. Every person is different. But this I know for sure, highly processed white and “fake wheat” breads are not good for anyone.



MICRONUTRIENTS AND SUPPLEMENTS

Probiotics

Probiotics are live organisms that add to the gut flora and grow the microbiome. Prebiotics are what feed that good bacteria in the gut. The living organism in your gut helps to fight infections, bad bacteria, help to break down food, and serve as a protective layer of your intestines. 90% of the probiotics on the market do not survive the gut. Meaning, the acid in the stomach likely kills the bacteria before it can make it to your small intestines. MD Logic health Dr. Choice probiotic and JustThrive Probiotics are supplements that survive the gut.


Supplements

Correcting nutrition deficiencies is important for gut health. Eating nutrient rich foods is often not enough. Depending on what your medical condition is, you may be deficient in certain vitamins or minerals. Most of us are deficient in magnesium and many women are iron deficient. Getting labs done and evaluating symptoms (tiredness, brittle hair, etc) are good ways to assess if you may have a vitamin deficiency.


EXERCISE

At least 10 minutes of movement after a meal is recommended for good digestion.

As far as digestion goes, all exercise is good. However, I have personally found that walking, running, and HIIT helps me to use the bathroom more often.


FASTING

Intermittent fasting and time restricted eating

Intermittent fasting or just at least fasting 12 hours at night to morning can significantly help with gut health.

Some doctors recommend that some fast for 24 - 48 hours at a time to “reset” the gut. Be careful when doing this since many people are hypoglycemic and need to eat more regularly than others. This is something to start small and work your way into.


MISCELLANEOUS

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are horrible for your gut health. I can say this now that I am well so my mother won’t kill me lol, but the last time I got sick, I did not actually take the antibiotics that the doctor gave me. I let my sinus infection run its course. Antibiotics are unnecessary 50% of the time according to recent studies and only one round of antibiotics can kill up to 1⁄3 of your good gut microbiome.


Mental Health/Brain Health

The gut is attached to the vagus nerve, which sends 90% of the nervous system signals that the brain receives. So, that means that 90% of the signals that the brain receives is from the gut. From what we eat. I don’t think it is a coincidence that depression, anxiety, Alzheimer's, and other cognitive related disorders are at an all time high in society where there is a convenience store full of cheap junk food or a fast food restaurant on every corner.

The gut is attached to the brain almost directly, but it is related to every other part of the body as well. Since all of our body needs nutrients in order to be fueled and function properly, it only makes sense that poor gut health can present itself in other seemingly non-gut-related symptoms.


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