How to have a Healthier Gut
Today I wanted to provide you with some more tools for reaching your health goals. And talk to you about gut health and smalls steps you can take today to become aware of your gut and take care of it. My hope is that this is helpful for you and everyone in your family to promote healthy habits.
Research says that our brain is influenced by our gut. For us to have a healthy brain we need to have a healthy gut. The number of both brain issues and digestive issues are on the rise. 1/3 of Americans have been diagnosed with digestive issues. We are seeing more and more challenges with young children having both digestive and brain issues. Who do you know that suffers from some kind of gut issues like IBS, Chhorn’s, food allergies? Issues like ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and Autism are being linked to the gut.
What is clear is there is a major connection between the health of the gut and brain. A few interesting facts are that 95% of serotonin is made in our gut and 50 % of our dopamine is made in our gut. So when our gut is off we can see how it can drastically affect our mood.
So what can do starting today to take care of our gut?
- The cheapest and easiest thing we can do is breath. 98% of digestive issues are caused by stress. We can eat perfectly healthy and exercise and if we don’t control our stress our health and our gut will be affected. Breathing in through our nose and out through or mouth throughout the day helps to release stress, tension, and emotion we are holding in our body. Get in the habit of breathing in the car, when you are sitting at your desk, you can do this anywhere.
A critical time for us to do this power breathing is before we eat. Our autonomic nervous system is responsible for the digestive activity. Because we are under so much stress, most of us are always in fight or flight mode all day. Fight or flight mode is when our body is ready to fight an attacker or flee from a situation. When we are in this state, digestion is turned off and our blood is routed to our arms and our legs. The good news is it takes less than 2 minutes to de-stress the body and turn our digestive system back on just by taking 10 long slow breaths. I have seen people with digestive issues turn their health around with this simple technique.
At every meal or anytime food is about to pass your lips, ask yourself “Am I about to eat under stress? “If the answer is “yes”, then pause and take 10 long slow breaths.
Stay away from stressful topics when you are eating, have a stress free dinner area. This is not the time to ask your kids if they have a test tomorrow or lecture them on what they need to do.
- Chew our food. How many chews do you think the average person takes before swallowing their food? The answer is 3.5 chews. We might as well have a door at the stomach that says insert here. The recommended about of chews is 30. Anyone do that? I don’t know about you but I don’t want to count to 30 with every bite of food. I make sure my food is demolished before I can swallow it.
Our digestion starts in our mouth. Saliva has important enzymes that help break down food, making it easier to digest and assimilate. When we are not chewing our food we are not absorbing the nutrients from our food and we are not digesting it properly, which is going to lead to once again digestive issues.
- Intestinal exercise- our intestine is not something we think about very often. Our intestines get stiff, by exercising them we are helping them be more flexible, increasing our serotonin and helping to build a healthy microbiome in our gut. Breathe in and push out your intestines like you are blowing up a balloon. Then pull in your gut like there is a string putting your intestines back to your spine. The goal is to do 300 of these a day. I do know people who have lost inches in their waist with this exercise.
- Your top 3 foods that will cause digestive challenges are:a) Wheat has been modified in the last 30 years. This is now causing leaky gut in people who do not have a wheat allergy.
b) Anyone who has digestive issues is always recommended to cut out dairy. Dairy is very inflammatory to our digestive tract.
c) In general, we are eating way too much sugar. We are designed to have a little sugar. But the average American is eating 88 grams of sugar a day. 25 grams a day is recommended for a healthy body.
Being mindful about how we eat and what we eat can make a big difference in our gut health and our brain. Here’s to taking smalls steps each day that helps us live healthier.