The number of times our heart beats per minute, how many breaths we take, etc., all those things we don't even have to think about that keep us alive. Even hough the brain is constantly working to keep you alive, it doesn't do much your overall health when it comes to your immune system. That's where your gut takes over.
Your gut is really your body's second brain. Did you know, there are more nerves that run from the gut to your brain, than from the brain to your gut? Information is constantly being sent up. And if the brain in your head is what keeps the things running that keep you alive, it would make sense to create conditions in which the gut sends up as much good information as possible, would it not? One would think so, but according to recent reports, it's not.
Last year in October of 2020, the National Ambulatory Care Reporting System published a report done in 2018-2019. The NACRS's findings showed for that time period there were over 900K emergency room visits for, “disease of disorder of the digestive system”, which ended up costing $340 million in treatments. Just for those conditions alone. Which turned out to be more than double mental health conditions which came in a distant second at a cost of $156 million. Clearly the “gut feelings” many people are having aren't so good.
Symptoms like acid reflux, GERD, heartburn, IBS, diverticulitis, gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, poor digestion, are all signs that things are not functioning as they should. Let's face it, no ones likes to talk about their bodily functions. But if you're scoping out the location of the nearest bathroom every time you go somewhere new, there's a problem. And when changes aren't being made to address the root of these issues, the constant inflammation that comes with all those conditions can cause gut permeability, or leaky gut. Literally, it's when particles that are supposed to be contained in the stomach bucket, pass through holes in the lining of the stomach and out into the body. This can cause a whole host of issues, including auto-immune disorders and some cancers among the biggies. Depression, brain fog, mood swings, weight gain, poor sleep, colitis, Crohn's are also some of the things that can result.
Good news though. Most of these symptoms and resulting conditions can actually be drastically reduced - and in some cases even eliminated completely - using food. Whole, single-ingredient foods put together in a way that creates balance within the body, then paired with a few natural supplements to help remove inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, balance hormones, support collagen resilience and promote nitric oxide production within the body. Effects that go a long way in repairing leaky gut, bringing relief and restoring comfort. Here are three simple things you can do to get started on the path to protect and start healing your gut.
Replace any packaged/processed foods with whole foods. Our bodies weren't designed to process chemicals, preservatives, dyes, toxins, etc., and packaged foods are loaded with them. Not to mention a whole lotta gluten and sugar. All of which are inflammatory on their own, never mind several of them at once. Simple foods, simply prepared using herbs and spices are easier to digest. And you'll find after detoxing your palette, that they taste better too.
Remove all dairy products. Dairy is also inflammatory and also causes the body to retain bloat and waste. Which are only fuelling your current discomfort. There are a lot of great tasting non-dairy “milks” that are much better for your digestion and gut health. Almond, coconut and cashew are some of my favourites. FYI, you can also get cheese made from nuts as well. Do read labels though. You don't want to be removing dairy just to add something that has a ton of additives that will just create inflammation in a different way.
Drink lots of water. Ladies 2-3L and gents, 3-4L per day, everyday. And for those who say they don't like running to the bathroom, that water is flushing out toxins. Better out than in right? And as your system starts to balance out, as digestion improves and elimination becomes regular, you won't be running to the bathroom as much as your body will adapt. Depriving your body of things it needs, like water, only causes it to hang onto every little bit it gets. So be generous, drink lots, and keep your body happy.
There are many other things that you can do as well as supplements to add. But even just making these simple changes is a good way to start to reducing inflammation, and give your gut a chance to start healing. Be consistent. Be patient. It won't happen overnight. But as you continue to know better and do better, you'll feel better too. To learn more about creating a healthy gut, join the 8 Weeks is All it Takes group on Facebook.
Kelowna Nutritionist STOP dieting, start living! Lose the Bloat, Melt your Belly, Love Your Life!! Last thing, last time, believe it! Sign up to receive my bi-weekly FIT Nutrition blog, and get started today.