Why should I make my gut happy? What has my gut done for me lately but help me keep my pants up? Well, that’s your waistline and that’s a different article, but your GUT is the whole gastrointestinal tract that is a bit lower than your waistline, and it is crucial to your good health. It is involved in not only absorbing your (micro)nutrients from the food you ate, but also involved in everything from hormone and neurotransmitter production that control your happy/sad, awake/sleepy, energy levels to your all important immune system. Without going into the sometimes confusing science behind how all this happens, let’s suffice it to say it is all true and amazing! So, what can you do to have a happy gut and consequently a happy brain, strong immune system, better sleep, less inflammation and consequently fewer pains, and reduce your chances of every inflammation based disease out there? (pretty much all of the big, awful and scary ones that hinder not only life expectancy but also quality of life for the duration of your earthly time)
A great place to start is to significantly cut back on grains….particularly wheat. Why? Several reasons; Gluten and wheats effect on the blood sugar level. I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing about Gluten free this-and-that. Guess what?...so am I. And all the gluten-free products too, because although they are gluten free, which helps the gut some, they are still a product with a very simple carbohydrate grain that wreaks havoc on the blood sugar levels (research shows individuals with frequent high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop insulin resistance/diabetes as well as brain shrinkage/Alzheimers) . So, minimize your grain-based carbohydrates (rice, corn, soy, wheat, spelt, amaranth, quinoa) to 100 grams a day.
Minimize your milk intake, but have some fermented milk products. Have a home-made or sweetner-free yogurt or cheese. (You can sweeten your yogurt with a LITTLE bit of RAW honey but DO NOT use sugar-substitutes….more on that in a future article!)
STOP/Greatly minimize sugars!!! That includes ALL of them! The chemical-laden fake sugar substitutes as well as refined sugars and syrups. I heard that!…YES, you can!
Increase your intake of “good” bacteria! Eat fermented foods such as (unsweetened) yogurt, sauerkraut, miso/tempeh, pickled cucumbers or beets. Interesting fermenting recipes available here: http://www.homemademommy.net/2013/12/20-kid-friendly-fermented-foods.html
Take a great probiotic! In the above article it states that you cannot get billions of good bacteria in any probiotic pill…this is true for most products on the market, but excellent probiotics with billions of good bacteria strains are absolutely available, although not in your average supermarket vitamin aisle. Natural food stores carry some and Armstrong Body Systems (www.armstrongbodysystems.com ) has access to several at a discount as well. Sometimes specific strains are conducive to specific GI health issues.
Fill your plate with any and lots of vegetables, legumes (beans), lean proteins, a good amount of healthy fats (avocado, coconut, nuts, fish oil, flaxseed) with each meal! A little fresh fruit too! What’s not to love about this?! It doesn’t come in a package! Choose what comes from the earth!
A Happy Gut=A Happy YOU!
Have a Happy, Healthy Day!
Lauri Armstrong, Degreed Dietitian & Nutritionist, CLT, Adv.PFT
Armstrong Body Systems