Focus on your Gut Health to reduce your risk of disease
Guest writer, Andrea Fennell, is the dietitian at Our Clinic. Andrea completed her Bachelor of Science in Applied Human Nutrition with a Minor in Psychology at Mount Saint Vincent University. Andrea is also a certified Craving Change facilitator specializing in cognitive-behavioral strategies to overcome problematic eating habits.
Do you experience bloating, gas, skin rashes, acne, allergies, chronic fatigue, or excessive weight you just can’t seem to lose?
Well these symptoms and many others may actually be linked to what’s going on inside your gut! In fact, most disease is caused by an imbalance in the gut flora.
What is the gut flora? It’s trillions of bacteria, both good and bad, that line the intestines. A balanced gut flora supports the absorption of nutrients, the elimination of waste and the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter, serotonin. The gut is often called the “second brain” as it is home to over 95% of the body’s serotonin.
Here are a few simple steps to support your gut health:
Chew Your Food
Have you ever eaten so quickly, while likely being distracted, that you don’t even remember tasting your food? Digestion begins in the mouth using digestive enzymes found in saliva. Chewing sends a signal to the stomach to get ready for digestion by releasing stomach acid. Poorly-digested food particles that reach the intestines feed the bad bacteria, causing an imbalance in the gut flora.
Try Fermented Foods
Have you ever heard of Kimchi, Sauerkraut, Kombucha, Kefir or Miso? These foods, all found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store, are packed with the good bacteria that will help your gut flora thrive. They’re considered probiotics. Try having 1 tablespoon of Kimchi or Sauerkraut (fermented vegetables) on the side of your meal daily to reap the benefits.
Include Prebiotic Foods
Prebiotics feed the probiotics or good bacteria. Some common prebiotic-rich foods include garlic, onions, asparagus and artichokes. It’s no coincidence that prebiotics are often found in vegetable sources. Vegetables also provide the essential fibre your gut needs in order to efficiently eliminate toxins.
Drink, Drink, Drink!
There’s good reason why you’re always hearing this one. Adequate water intake is essential for proper elimination of waste and toxins from the body. Drinking a glass of water 15 minutes before your meal will further support digestion by getting your digestive enzymes flowing.
Cut back on Refined Foods and Sugar
Not only are these foods devoid of the necessary nutrients our body needs to flourish, but they also feed the bad bacteria leading to a poorly balanced gut flora. Choose whole foods more often and alternative sweeteners such as honey, real maple syrup or dates.
Here’s a quick video and recipe to help you create your own homemade Kombucha.