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Love Your Gut

“All Disease Begins in the Gut” — Hippocrates

Hippocrates is known as the father of medicine, and this guy knew his stuff! ⁠

Over 2,000 years later, and we are still trying to figure out all the things the mighty Gut does.

I get a lot of questions on Gut health so this post will help breakdown the basics. ⁠

Let’s start with what the Gut is and why it is so important because before we heal it or treat it, we need to know what it is.

To put it simply, your Gut is your entire digestive system.

It is the only place the outside world is allowed inside the body! Talk about a BIG responsibility, which can also be a stressful one (depending on what we let in). The key to good health is taking care of your Gut and ensuring it is running optimally.⁠

So What does the mighty Gut do?⁠

  • Breaks down food to increase bioavailability and absorb nutrients⁠

  • Protects from pathogens, bacteria, and toxins⁠

  • Removes waste, excess hormones, and toxins⁠

  • Produces hormones and neurotransmitters such as serotonin. (Serotonin helps regulates mood, behavior, sleep, appetite, & digestion. 90% of it is made in our Gut!) ⁠

  • Manages inflammation⁠

  • Helps regulate blood sugar

  • Has a direct connection to the brain through the vagus nerve and is often called the 2nd brain.⁠

  • Houses over 70% of our immune system⁠

I’m just scratching the surface here. The Gut is super SUPER important for our overall health.

What are the issues we face with our Gut health?⁠

I’m no stranger to Gut trouble, and my struggles with Ulcerative Colitis have been real! It took me a long time to figure out how my food & lifestyle choices were affecting my health, but I’ve learnt, grown, and am healing every day.

In general, we have two issues we face with our Gut health. Leaky Gut and Dysbiosis

“Leaky Gut” or increased intestinal permeability

Your Gut is made of tight junctions that allow water & nutrients to pass through to the bloodstream but prevent toxins & other harmful substances from making it through. If these junctions loosen and become weak, the harmful substances can “leak” through the intestinal wall before your body can get rid of them. These unwelcome visitors in your bloodsteam cause your body to be in a continuous mode of defense. Other crucial processes like hormone regulation are ignored because your body is busy trying to fight off all the “stuff” that shouldn’t be entering your body. Leaky Gut leads to many issues such as food allergies, autoimmune diseases, systemic inflammation, and more, which I will cover later on.

Dysbiosis -A microbial imbalance in the Gut

The imbalance could mean one of two things or both:

  1. The harmful bacteria is overcrowding the good bacteria,

  2. You don’t have enough diversity of bacteria in your Gut.

So why do these issues happen?

I’m gonna make it simple and list the top reasons for you.

  • Bad Digestion

  • STRESS – both mental & physical

  • A diet full of offensive, inflammatory foods

  • High sugar consumption

  • Lack of dietary diversity leading to nutrient deficiencies (Vitamin D is a big one)

  • Overuse of Alcohol

  • Overuse of medication such as antibiotics & NSAIDS (non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs)

  • Exposure to toxins

  • Chronic inflammation (a vicious cycle)

How do you know you have one or both of these issues?

Here are some signs you want to look out for!⁠⁠

  • Food Sensitivities⁠

  • Digestive issues like bloating, gas, & Diarrhea⁠

  • Sugar cravings (bad bacteria feeds on sugar)⁠

  • Autoimmune conditions (Leaky Gut causes your body to attack itself)⁠

  • A weakened immune. You keep coming down with the same old cold, flu, cough, etc.)

  • Allergies like stuffy nose, watery eyes, sneezing, other ENT issues, seasonal allergies

  • Unintentional weight changes ⁠

  • Skin conditions like eczema, acne, rosacea, urticaria, etc.⁠

  • Chronic fatigue ⁠

  • Hormone imbalances⁠

  • Pre-diabetes or diabetes ⁠

  • Moodiness, anxiety, and depression (don’t forget the Gut-Brain connection)⁠

  • Dark under-eye circles even though you have slept enough⁠

  • Nutrient deficiencies because you aren’t absorbing. ⁠

  • You are bloated at the end of the day⁠⁠

So basically, your Gut affects everything! If you are feeling generally off, you might want to consider showing your Gut some love. You can also consider getting some tests done. A stool analysis and inflammation markers are reasonable indicators of Gut health. Still not sure what might be causing your symptoms? I highly recommend everyone keep a food & mood journal for a few weeks. It’s incredible how telling it can be when we write down what we eat along with our digestive reactions, mood, energy, & sleep.

Steps to show your Gut the LOVE it deserves!

1. Get rid of the stuff that got your Gut into this mess in the first place

  • Reduce stress – both mental and physical

  • Remove processed and refined foods from your diet

  • Reduce your sugar intake

  • Say goodbye to refined and hydrogenated fats

  • Remove foods that you are sensitive to (for many these could be gluten and or dairy)

  • Reduce the use of antibiotics & NSAIDS

2. Improve your digestion

  • Digestion is a north to south process so ensuring simple steps like being in a calm state of mind and chewing your food can do wonders for the digestive process! If digestion needs more help there are a lot of therapeutic ways to improve this.

3. Add in healing Foods

  • Fermented & cultured foods

  • Bone broth

  • Nutrient-dense & antioxidant-rich foods (lots of veggies in all colors)

  • Omega 3 rich foods

  • Healthy fats

4. Supplements & Herbs

  • Herbs – slippery elm, marshmallow root, licorice root

  • Supplements: L-Glutamine, Collagen, Digestive enzymes, zinc, vitamin D

  • Essential oils to reduce stress & improve digestion

5. Lifestyle

  • Sleep more

  • Exercise

  • Practice 1 form of mindfulness – journaling, breathing, meditation, yoga, etc. Whatever floats your boat

  • Focus on what makes you happy and make changes to bring more of that into your life

  • Remove negativity (including negative people)

  • Reduce stress! (mental & physical)

I hope you all found this information useful, and I am open to questions, so please feel free to comment!

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