The health of our gut is critical to our immune system and to healthy skin. You simply can’t go wrong by taking steps to improve your gut health! Your overall health will improve and so will your skin!
Drink WATER! Not only does this help keep your skin hydrated, it also helps keep your gut healthy and your system regular. Most doctors will recommend at least 8-8oz glasses per day, another method to decide how much is right is use is to take your body weight and divide it half to calculate how many ounces of water you need per day. Try starting out your day with a big glass of water (I start my day with 16oz every morning with a slice of lemon in it, if it’s hot or if I have been extra active I will even start with more than 16oz.) Keep a glass or bottle of water handy and continue to drink throughout the day!
Reduce sugars and processed foods in your diet. The processed foods on the shelves now are contributing to Americans eating twice as much sugar as we did 30 years ago, this contributes not only to obesity epidemic we are experiencing in the US but also compromises your gut’s health! A simple way to avoid them is to make the majority of your diet food that doesn’t have labels! Be aware too that sugar will hide on those labels under names like: Corn sweetener, Corn syrup, Barley Malt Syrup, Fructose, Dextrin, Dextrose, Glucose, High-fructose corn, Lactose, Maltodextrin, Rice Syrup, Saccharos, Sucrose, Treacle, Xylose, Fruit juice concentrate, Syrup, etc….
Eat healthy fats like olive oil. Avoid the unhealthy fats like hydrogenated oils like the plague! Hydrogenated oils have no place in our diet. Dr. Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health says no amount is a safe amount! But healthy oils and fats are good for our health. One study on olive oil showed it helps protect the lower intestinal tract, another showed that it can help balance the bacteria in our gut, and even slow the growth of unwanted bacteria. A healthy diet will include healthy fats and oils. Don’t fall for the myth of eating only fat free foods because fat makes you fat! That’s a myth that persists only in the world of marketing fat free foods to you! 20% to 35% of your calories should come from fats for optimal health. It’s the sugars & simple carbs that make you fat! As an interesting side note: those fat free foods are often loaded with the sugars and simple carbs that WILL cause weight gain!
Probiotics & Prebiotics! Take care of your gut’s good flora – keep the population healthy with probiotics like yogurt and kefir, pickled vegetables, kombucha, miso, and real sauerkraut that still has live cultures. In addition to probiotics add in lots of good fiber, or prebiotics. Why? Sure, it’s touted for regularity, but prebiotics are critical because that what the good bacteria in your gut eats – you need to feed the good bacteria to keep it healthy. Great sources are Jerusalem artichoke, raw garlic, asparagus, wheat bran, onions, leeks, bananas, berries, leafy greens, legumes and whole grains.
Take time to eat: if you are eating on the go, or rushing through meals this can translate to having trouble with digestion which in turn translates to problems with your gut. Make time to eat and enjoy your food. Chewing is a critical part of digestion as well; it’s the first step in digesting food – chew food well before swallowing. If big meals give you indigestion, try eating several smaller meals. Take time to notice how you feel.
Avoid foods you may be sensitive to. If you have severe food allergies you already know what they are. But you may have sensitivities you are not aware of or ignoring. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat different foods. Food should make you feel good, not bad. If it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t eat it. If you still aren’t sure, you can try keeping a journal and make note of how you feel after you eat different foods. Some experts say improving your digestion may only take eliminating a couple of things that cause you problems.
Get your sleep! Sleep is critical for healing, and lack of sleep has a negative impact on cortisol levels and weakens our adrenal system.
Manage stress – Stress takes a toll on our guts. If a stressor in your life can’t be avoided, remember how you react to it is within your power. You can also try yoga, massage or meditation. Epsom salt baths can also help, they will help with getting your good sleep too, and your body will be absorbing it’s much needed magnesium from the Epsom salt! And if you are under a lot of stress that you can’t simply can’t avoid or manage well pay extra attention to your diet and gut health.
Get your exercise! Exercise helps move food through your system efficiently and effectively. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym, a good long walk does wonders!
Take extra care of your gut if you are taking antibiotics or other medications! See all of the above for advice! If you are taking antibiotics make sure to include more probiotics (and prebiotics!) in your diet to restore your healthy gut flora.
Whole Living is dedicated to sharing information, insights and tips for a healthier diet and lifestyle.
Here’s to Our Health!
AADP Certified Holistic Health Coach
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