Did you know that 70 million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of digestive illness? Nutrition is arguably the most important element to maintaining overall health. More specifically, a diet that supports gut health can greatly impact such things as our mood, memory, disease symptoms and more.
First, what is gut health? Your “gut” consists of several organs including your esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, also known as the Gastrointestinal Tract (GI). Your GI tract consists of bacteria and serves as our internal line of defense against disease. The GI is very intricate and, in many ways, delicate. When your gut is distressed either due to poor diet or an overload of medicine, our gut might be too weak to prevent dangerous elements from entering our system.
Here are 3 ways to ensure good gut health:
1.Focus on putting good things in your body, instead of taking things out. As we all know, altering our diets too much too quickly is unsustainable and can lead to quick relapses or an even worse diet. Instead of stressing about taking all the unhealthy food/drink out of your diet, focus on putting one healthy thing into your diet at each meal and snack. Think: a fruit or vegetable; exchanging butter for olive oil in your cooking; opting for fresh lemon water instead of soda. Small changes over a long period of time go a long way.
2.Consider a probiotic. Talk with your doctor about implementing a daily probiotic. Probiotics are a quick and healthy way to increase or replenish the healthy gut bacteria in your body. This is a great option for people who cannot avoid antibiotics or other compromising medications. It’s also a great option for those who do not have a well-rounded diet.
3.When in doubt, incorporate these foods: yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, home-made sourdough bread, pickles, or soy products (i.e. soy milk). All of these products are high in probiotics!