The digestive system is a group of organs working together to covert food into energy and nutrition to feed the body. The gut is home to more than 100 trillion microbes or bacteria which are necessary for health. Dr. Mark Hyman describes our gut as an inner garden; if you let the weeds take over, you get into trouble. There are many that are GROWING WEEDS.
WHAT CAUSES AN UNHEALTHY GUT?
Modern living and bad lifestyle choices are hard on the gut. Damage is caused from a diet high in sugar and processed foods containing various chemicals. Gut busting drugs such as antibiotics, acid blockers for reflux, anti-inflammatories, hormones and more are harmful to the bacteria in the gut. A malfunctioning gut is not able to break down and absorb nutrients and cannot remove harmful chemicals.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF AN UNHEALTHY GUT?
Gut symptoms may develop such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or heartburn. Food intolerance, aches and pain may occur. Your body can lose the ability to regulate blood sugar and store fat. Gaining or losing weight make occur. Long term, an unhealthy gut can lead to various health issues such as obesity, hypertension, heart disease, fatigue, depression, sleep disturbance, skin irritation and diabetes.
HOW TO HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTHY GUT
Good news…the gut is the most regenerative organ in the body according to Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. A lot of wear and tear goes on in our gut so every five to seven days, the gut has a completely new lining as epithelial cells regenerate. To heal your gut, start by gently supporting and encouraging healthy bacteria. Your gut may feel worse before it gets better but give the healthy changes time.
- Decrease caffeine
- Lower stress
- improve sleep
- Mindful eating by slowing down and feeding our gut foods that are natural, full of fiber and nutrients and void of artificial ingredients
- Support your immune system with foods like citrus fruit, garlic, clove and cinnamon which supply vitamins and minerals.
- Support your liver to help it do the job of detoxing chemicals by eating foods that contain diindolylmethane (DIM). DIM is made in the body from cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli. I personally eat at least 1 bite of each of these EVERY day!
- Prebiotics or probiotics. Prebiotics provide ‘food’ meant to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are live good bacteria. Fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt (without fruit), tempeh, miso, kefir and apple cider vinegar are great dietary sources of probiotics.
- Check for food intolerances and try to eliminate from your diet
- Ask your healthcare provider about lowering or eliminating medications that affect the gut.
- Rest your gut with periods of fasting
Live Long, Live Healthy!
Dr. Julie Wood is a Nurse Practitioner and has been serving the Middle Tennessee area for more than 30 years, specializing in adults with obesity, prediabetes and diabetes. Office is located at 401 First Avenue, Mt. Pleasant, TN and statewide with telehealth. Dr. Wood can be reached at 931-325-5560, www.diabetesmgtassociates.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Articles are meant to be informative and should never replace the advice of your health care provider.