The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates is quoted as saying “All Disease Begins in The Gut.” Modern science is finding evidence to support this statement. We now know the health of our digestive system often reflects the health of our overall body.
Do you ever have a “gut feeling” that something is not right with your digestive system? Your gut has a mind of its own, and how it feels has a huge impact on your brain and general wellbeing. The gut has literally been called the second brain of the human body. It’s for this reason that it becomes imperative to give your gut health the boost it needs.
An unhealthy gut can lead to serious issues, even in seemingly unrelated places in the body. Research shows that poor gut health can lead to systemic inflammation, leaky gut, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Irritable bowel syndrome, depression, anxiety and more. The problem can start at birth, with all of the unnatural things babies are exposed to, and all of the natural things that they are not exposed too. The problem, of course, is worsened with unhealthy diets, mental and physical stress, deficiency, toxicity, and all of the other many dangers to our gut microbiome.
Change Your Diet
One of the biggest changes you can make to your gut health comes from nutrition. The gut microbiome response to different substances will vary from person to person. Therefore certain people may do well on a particular diet while another may not. No matter who you are it’s important to feed the bacteria and yeast populations in your gut healthy food. The body requires this in order for many different processes to function optimally. The microbiota feeds off fermentation, a process that requires fiber as raw materials. If your diet consists largely of refined and processed foods with little to no fiber, the good bacteria in your gut will die off while bad microbes like candida (yeast) will explode.
For your good gut bacteria to thrive, you need to stay on a diet rich in natural, whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices. Cut out processed carbs and sugar as these foods negatively affect your gut health. Fill your plates with fiber-rich foods to replenish the population of the gut-friendly microbiome.
Consume Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Probiotics help reestablish the population of beneficial microbiome species in your gut. Common probiotic-rich foods include yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, tofu, tempeh, and kimchi. Your gut health will benefit immensely from these foods as they contain the right biotic population your gut needs to be healthy. Fermented foods are one of the most important functional foods. Functional foods aside from fermented foods can benefit health in their own unique ways. Our ancestors fermented food as a form of preservation, and therefore in order to eat according to the old way, fermented food needs to be included.
Get Your Move On
When your gut is unhealthy, rigorous exercise might not be the best thing for you. If you feel jittery and fatigued after working out, it’s wise to adjust your exercise to something lighter. Having a sick gut doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work out, but you have to be sure it’s providing the benefits you are seeking. If you feel miserable after exercising, adopt less rigorous activities such as walking, Pilates, swimming, yoga and other low-impact activities that won’t leave you feeling grumpy afterward.
Beware of Antibiotics
You might be eating well and still have an unhealthy gut. One of the reasons for this can be antibiotics. The general recommendation that most naturopathic physicians take is to try and treat naturally, and when that fails, go to antibiotics.
However, on the other hand, antibiotics, unfortunately, are indiscriminate in action-they are like a nuclear bomb in your gut. If you are not careful with antibiotic use, you can create serious troubles for your gut biodiversity. An imbalanced microbiome will falter at its function of digestion, causing a lot of chaos in the body. This can lead to serious issues like inflammation, leaky gut, IBD, depression, autoimmune disorders, obesity, and others. It’s vital to use antibiotics only when necessary to ensure your gut-friendly bacteria continues to thrive. It is extremely important to replenish your slain good bacteria, after any antibiotic regimen.
Visit Your Functional Medicine Doctor
If you still feel unwell after overhauling your diet, consider supplementing probiotics, and making lifestyle modifications towards better gut health. If you continue to experience digestive issues you should see your functional medicine doctor. Your functional medicine doctor hopefully can help determine the underlying cause of your problem and enable you to get the appropriate treatment. However, You may find the conventional medical system has a hard time effectively diagnosing and treating certain digestive problems. Functional medicine can often fill in gaps where conventional medicine can’t. With digestive issues, there are many tests and treatments available that you will not find at your normal doctor.
In order to be truly healthy, it is critical that we make our digestive systems as healthy as possible. When we combine a healthy diet, lifestyle modalities, and avoiding anything that causes our digestion stress, we can begin to improve our gut health and thus improve our health.
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