I got a great question on the Grounded Health Facebook brand page last week (if you’re not following me, please join in the fun here). Someone asked what she could do each day to improve her gut health. So here we go – I wanted to keep it SUPER simple and leave you with some really usable tips that you can start incorporating this week!
Before we get started, let’s chat a little bit about why we should care about the health of our gut. Good gut health is important for SO many reasons – but to name just a few – good digestion (which means better nutrient uptake by the body), improved serotonin production (most of our serotonin [a feel good chemical in our brain] is produced in our gut… have you ever heard that the gut is our “second brain”, this is part of the reason!), and improved immunity (over 70% of our immune system actually LIVES in our gut).
Now you really understand why keeping our gut healthy is SO important, let’s get into it!
1) Incorporate fermented foods in your diet
If you haven’t heard of fermented foods by now, you must be living under a rock. Just kidding, but really – fermented foods have been ALL the rage the past few years, and for good reason! When I say fermented foods, I mean raw sauerkraut (this is not the sauerkraut you find in the condiment section at the grocery store – raw sauerkraut must be refrigerated and can be found in the natural food section at the grocery store), kimchi, kombucha, kefir and yogurt (just to name a few).
Raw sauerkraut or kimchi can be added to pretty much any meal but I like them served with a dish of meat and vegetables. Just be sure not to heat the kimchi or sauerkraut, as this will kill some of the bacteria.
Kefir and yogurt can be used pretty much interchangeably. You can add fruit, nuts, granola, etc. and serve as a breakfast or as a snack, or add a bit to a smoothie for an extra probiotic kick!
Kombucha (or my FAVORITE – fermented coconut water) can be consumed as a replacement for juice. I typically recommend half of a bottle as a serving. So if you want to pick up two bottles each week and drink ½ of a bottle every two days, that is a great habit to get into!
2) Stop popping those unnecessary NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
If you’re anything like I used to be, I would pop an Advil at any sign of an ache or pain (luckily… or maybe unluckily, I am now allergic to all non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, so that bad habit has been nipped in the bud). Next time you have a headache or a body ache, I recommend trying to get to the root of the problem, rather than masking the issue by treating the symptom. NSAIDs can irritate the gut lining and can negatively impact the population of good bacteria in the gut. If you've got chronic head aches, muscle aches or migraines, exploring magnesium supplementation may be something worthwhile for you!
3) Eat some prebiotics
PREbiotics are food for the probiotics (the bacteria). We need to keep these little bugs fed in order to thrive (a gross thought, I know). Some of the best prebiotic foods include onions, garlic and bananas. Incorporate these foods in your diet each day to support those little bugs that we work so hard to consume!
4) Reduce the amount of processed sugar in your diet
This may be an obvious one and has benefits that reach far beyond the health of our gut, however it really can make a huge difference when it comes to building and maintaining a robust population of good gut bacteria. Simple sugars often feed the “bad” bacteria in the gut and can cause a bit of an undesirable balance between the good and bad bacteria. By reducing the amount of processed, added sugar in our diet and instead focusing on incorporating foods that feed the good bacteria, we can really help support the health of our gut!
Alright now, there we have it – 4 simple ways to start improving the health of your gut today! Which of these are you already doing and what do you need to focus on a bit more? Share in the comments below!
Yours in Health,