What is ‘gut health’ and 3 simple steps to improve your health & happiness now!
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. Hippocrates
These past weeks and this season have been about Late Summer and how to tap into the energy of the Earth, empathy, being centered and the stomach, aspects associated with this season to improve your health, happiness and even your business. Today I am honored to feature my first guest blogger, my friend and colleague, Kelly Haugh of ManifestNaturalWellness.com and GutBrainSolutions.com to share with you her expertise with an introduction to the ‘gut-brain’ connection with her global product partners, Amare and why it’s so important especially, from my perspective, this time of year.
Just a bit about my beautiful friend, Kelly. We both trained with the Health Coach Institute and are both absolutely passionate about serving others and the idea of collaboration but it’s our own life experiences that have shaped and focused our energy & business. Kelly has personally shared her heart and her own personal story with me of how ‘gut health’ has impacted her life and especially her children’s lives. She speaks from experience and incredible passion!
“All disease begins in the gut.” Hippocrates
A little science and 3 practical steps you can take to optimize your gut.
Your gut or gut microbiome is the trillions of living organisms living inside your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the good guys, bad guys, and neutral guys and is largely in charge of your health—physically, mentally, and emotionally. The gut, or the enteric nervous system (ENS) is now often referred to as the second brain. In my experience, it is really the first brain. Embedded in our GI tract is a neural network that functions similarly to your brain. It regulates your mood, thought, and behavior, and is in charge of a healthy immune system.
If the ENS isn’t working properly, the GI system cannot digest, absorb and excrete food and waste essential for mood function and brain health. The tight junctions of the gut are kind of like two hands in prayer position with interlaced fingers. When the integrity is lost, they are no longer tightly woven together and there are holes or spaces where food and bacteria escape and get into the body where they don’t belong leading to Leaky Gut.
This causes systemic inflammation in the body, which often leads to auto-immune diseases ranging from psoriasis to Rheumatoid arthritis! Hence, we want a healthy gut to have a healthy mind and body! More on this topic on Kelly’s website here.
“Our body is an ecosystem. This ecosystem must be maintained.” Ilchi Lee
Three simple (not always easy) steps to get your gut healthy.
- Shift into eating more veggies:
Sounds boring? You can sauté up nearly any veggie in a pan with some coconut oil, or Avocado oil, some spices, onions, and maybe some peppers and it will taste amazing. Using fresh herbs makes a big difference in having a flavorful vs a boring plate of veggies.
All of these veggies contain great amounts of good bacteria and fiber. Good for the gut and brain. Also, prebiotics-especially in the onion, leaks, garlic, and artichokes. More on veggies here and on prebiotics below
2. Cut Back on Sugar & Refined Carbs (which act like sugar in the body):
Sweet? Seductive? Or poison to your mind and body? Sugar is as addictive as Cocaine.
The sweet taste receptors send a signal to the brain. The signal activates the reward system in the brain, and sugar receptors in the gut as well. The reward center is at the frontal part of the brain and activates Dopamine, the reward center in the brain. So, the gut bacteria is calling for more, the reward center in the brain is calling for more and it becomes addictive. More on the dark side of sugar here.
Here are some ‘sweet’ treat ideas for you…. Dark chocolate, berries, simple ‘pudding’ made from avocado, and cacao powder. Cookies made from almond and coconut flour with just a bit of raw honey for sweetness.
If you are super craving a sweet treat, eat some protein and a bit of healthy fat first!
3. Start Probiotic & Prebiotic Supplements:
Once upon a time you were told to look for probiotics that were in the refrigerator section of the store. You were also told to get one with 50 billion CFU’s. When I first started teaching fermented foods workshops, teaching about gut health, and gut-brain connection a few years ago this was still the rule of thumb.
The science now has come to the point of strain-specific probiotics, and not just the family of the strain but right down to the exact strain and number. With this tremendous advancement, the formulator of products can pick out the exact strains that will bypass the stomach acid still intact, as well as pick them for mental wellness as well as gut health, and immune support. Pretty amazing, right??
Now to address prebiotics. You didn’t really see any products out on the market a few years ago with prebiotics in them. I was teaching that you needed to eat fermented foods to get your prebiotics in and feed the good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are like fertilizer for the good guys! Now, there is an amazing company out with strain-specific probiotics that also has prebiotics to feed the probiotics and other good guys in the gut!! Happy Gut = Happy Mind & Body.
Please reach out to Kelly on much more about how she can help you with any gut health issues. She’s also got brilliant products that can support you to Manifest Natural Wellness!
As always, I’m here in service to you. Let’s chat!