The foundation of good health starts with a healthy, happy digestive system. The gut is where many of the most important processes happen in the body such as eliminating toxins, absorbing nutrients, filtering out viruses and bacteria, and supporting the immune system. When our gut is in optimal shape, our body tends to be healthier overall. Below are five areas
everyone can address in order to help improve their gut function. However, keep in mind that each of us has an individual picture of health. That's why it is always a good idea to talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about your own digestive wellness.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that occur naturally in the body. They help break down food, aid in digestion, make nutrients more available, and fight against the overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria. The use of medications, antibiotics, and stress all compromise levels of beneficial bacteria, making it harder for them to do their job. Many of us need daily supplementation with a high-quality probiotic. Naturopathic Doctors are experts in knowing what brands, strains, and doses are appropriate for individuals. Also, help feed good bacteria with soluble fiber and fermented foods.
One thing to eliminate from your diet to immediately improve your gut health is foods to which you have allergies and sensitivities. Symptoms of food sensitivities are not always as obvious as you would think -- such as producing hives, inflammation, difficulty breathing, or rashes. Those symptoms and allergic reactions deal with a different part of the immune system. Food sensitivities are foods that you might eat on a regular basis that your body has developed an intolerance for. If the problem is left untreated, your body can become over-reactive to many kinds of foods, even some you don't eat regularly. Your Naturopathic Doctor can test you for food sensitivities so that you can eliminate them from your diet.
One of the most critical parts of a healthy gut is good elimination. Naturopathic Doctors can tell quite a bit about your overall state of health by the number of bowel movements you have a day as well as the quality. Fiber will help with elimination, as does movement in the form of exercise and stretching. It is important to have the right balance in the time between when you eat and when you have a bowel movement. If you are constipated, it means that toxins and body waste are sitting in your intestines. You run the risk of reabsorbing some of these toxins. If your transit time between when you eat and when you have a bowel movement is too quick, your body doesn't have time to absorb the nutrition from your food.
An important aspect of elimination and a healthy gut is proper hydration. We need water to flush toxins, absorb nutrients, and help the body from becoming constipated. Staying hydrated throughout the day is more beneficial to your body than drinking several glasses of water all at once. While flavored beverages can be appealing, added sugars, caffeine, dyes, and other chemicals can reverse any positive effects. Water is necessary and vital, so make sure to get enough pure, clean water in your diet.
Our gut is often thought of as our emotional center. In truth; stress, anger, and anxiety can have a negative impact on our gut health. It is important to be mindful of the amount of stress you have in your life. Conscious breath, or taking deep refreshing breaths several times during the day can help release any stored tension in your gut. If you find yourself storing stress, try taking a walk outside, phone a friend, or listening to music that soothes you.
Probiotics and Gut Health
There are over 400 species and thousands of strains of bacteria that are supposed to inhabit the lower intestines and colon. These are called probiotics, which mean "for life", and were initially discovered in the early 1900s. These bacteria have many roles in good health. An important function is to prevent food from decay, preserve antioxidants and vitamins, remove toxins and keep pathogenic organisms away. Another major role of probiotics is to maintain proper immune function. Among the various effects on the immune system, a specific action is to stimulate the action of white blood cells, which kill bacteria. When buying a probiotic, you want a multi-strain product called "broad spectrum". It should have at least 8-15 different types of probiotic bacteria. Avoid supplements with fillers or preservatives. Click here for a great probiotic recommendation to incorporate into your daily routine.