By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (LowFatLowCaRb.com)
I have been coaching wellness for over 9 years and one of the biggest issues with people is their gut. So many clients come in complaining of gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, irritable bowel and many other gastrointestinal issues. I have been taught that over 70% of our immune system is in our gut, also known as our “2nd brain”. Having a strong gut leads to a strong system, and visa versa, having a sick gut, can lead to many health issues, such allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, obesity and more.
In my own quest for health and weight management, I have learned that if you are acidic, and most of us are, it is very hard to lose fat. Also, the more acidic we are, the more inflammation in our body. This is not a good situation to be in. So having a healthy gut means more than simply being free of annoyances like bloating or heartburn! It is absolutely central to our health. It is connected to EVERYTHING that happens in our body.
Unfortunately many factors of the modern world directly contribute to unhealthy gut flora:
• Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs
• Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods
• Diets low in fermentable fibers
• Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut
• Chronic stress
• Chronic infections
There are many ways to heal your gut. Here are some suggestions:
- Eat whole unprocessed foods. Read labels and try to buy food that has less than 5 ingredients. Also, try to get a good amount of fiber in your daily diet. Don’t forget the vegetables!
- Eliminate food allergies. One way to do this is to try an elimination diet. Cut out gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy and eggs for a few weeks and see how your gut feels and what happens to your symptoms. Return one item at a time so you can identify your ‘trigger’.
- Replenish your digestive enzymes. When you don’t have enough digestive enzymes in your gut, you can’t efficiently break down the foods you eat. Taking digestive enzymes when you eat, act like a hammer to break your food into smaller particles to pass through your system much easier and help your body digest and assimilate better. The other benefit is you will probably notice much less gas, bloating and indigestion. Look for broad-spectrum digestive enzymes.
- Build up your friendly bacteria in your gut. I have been taught to take probiotic supplements. These are different than digestive enzymes. What a good, quality probiotic does is to help rebuild the healthy bacteria in your gut. When we take antibiotics and other medications we break down the entire bad and good gut flora, so taking a probiotic can get your immune system strong again.
- Take some good fat. Taking a quality omega 3 supplement has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, including the gut. Keeping the inflammation in your body low is so vital to overall health.
Fixing your digestion may take some time, but it can be done. And it is absolutely essential if you want to achieve vibrant health. So don’t forget the gut. It needs some attention. If you get your gut in order, you will have a much easier time losing weight, as well. I had to focus my attention in this area, and it has made a big difference for me.