I think Hippocrates had his head screwed on right and so I’m going to take his point of view on gut health seriously. Of course it is a bit of an over exaggeration to say that ALL disease begins in the gut, but your gastrointestinal system still plays a BIG role in your health.
The healthy bacteria that live in our gut are responsible for the functioning of our body’s digestive and immune system. Did you know that our body is made up of more bacteria than cells?? It is therefore our responsibility to keep the healthy bacteria thriving in our gut in order for optimal health.
I have heard recently another word for gut bacteria, or micro biome, and that is our “internal rainforest”. What a delightfully endearing comparison. Just like a healthy rainforest promotes thriving life, so too does our internal rainforest. And of course we all want life that is thriving. No more aches and pains and just getting by each day. Na ah. I say YES to a thriving life! So bring on that healthy rainforest.
Here are some ways you might be cutting down those trees in your rainforest without even realizing it:
- Taking antibiotics
The thing with antibiotics is that they kill ALL bacteria, including your healthy bacteria that are essential to health. Try to avoid antibiotics until it is absolutely necessary and if you have to take them, be sure to pay close attention to replenishing your gut bacteria afterwards.
- Chlorinated drinking water
Like antibiotics, chlorine also kills bacteria. While this was intended for good in order to prevent contracting diseases from unclean water, the chlorine in drinking water also kills the necessary bacteria in our gut.
- Excessive sugar consumption
Too much sugar found in carbohydrates and sugary foods gives the bad bacteria an opportunity to thrive and in turn hampers the good bacteria needed for health.
When you buy non-organic fruit and veg, the likelihood is pretty high that pesticides were used while growing them. These pesticides have been shown to cause damage to the crucial microvilli in your gut.
- Processed foods
Foods that are overly processed (think anything that has a long shelf life or comes from fast food restaurants) are often high in sugar, preservatives, hydrogenated oils etc. and are highly inflammatory, which negatively impacts your gut.
Now that you know what to avoid or cut out, here are some ways you can further improve your gut health and therefore overall health:
- Take a good probiotic supplement
Probiotics support the body’s digestive functioning and immune system, protect against toxins and help break down carcinogens.
- Eat fermented foods (natural probiotic)
Fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, kefir are all good sources of probiotics for intestinal health.
- Spend more time outdoors
Being exposed to more natural air will also expose your body to more diverse microbes.
- Prioritize leisure time and time to unwind
Our gut is highly sensitive to stress hormones and in order to fully heal we need to de-stress regularly and balance the hormones in our bodies.
- Exercise regularly
Yes it’s true, exercise is just good all round. Studies have shown it to actually increase the diversity of gut flora which is necessary for gut health.
Now that you have all the resources needed to heal your gut or just improve your gut health, check out these gut-health promoting recipes from my blog: