When you think about your overall health, what workouts you do, your weight, your muscles, or even your skin might come to mind. All of those things are definitely indicators and tools for health and wellness, but there is one huge contributor that is often forgotten. What’s that? Oh, this little (or maybe not so little) thing – your gut.
Maybe you can’t see it or put it on a scale. And you might not want to add descriptions of your guts functions to your workout journal. But, your gut actually affects many areas of our overall health. That’s why you hear so much about pro-biotics and pre-biotics. It’s because your gut matters. So, in order to help you keep your gut healthy and happy, I’ve put together a short list of some of the best things you can do to help it out.
Yeah, you’ve heard me say it before. But you need to Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Instead of 2L of soda, you should be consuming 2L of water, EVERY SINGLE DAY!
Dehydration is a major cause of occasional constipation. And not being able to poop is your body’s way of telling you that it needs more water. Water helps move waste through your digestive tract, gets rid of toxins, and just makes your entire body function better. I’m sure you’ve heard that most of your body is actually made up of water. So, to flush the bad stuff out, you need more water.
EAT PROBIOTIC RICH FOODS
Your gut is actually home to hundreds of different types of microorganizams. We call that your gut flora. What’s this mean? You’re actually a walking, breathing, vessel for bacteria. Don’t worry though, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Your gut has plenty of good bacteria. Yes, it also has bad bacteria. But a healthy gut has a proper balance of both kinds. The good ones keep the bad ones in check.
Foods rich in probiotics can help keep everything in balance, while the wrong foods can cause an imbalance which can lead to a host of other health problems and leave your body open to illness. So maybe, consider eating foods rich in probiotics. Kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt are great choices. Oh and avoid alcohol. Just like alcohol kills germs on your skin, putting it into your stomach can wreak havoc on their little germy lives.
DON’T SCARF DOWN YOUR FOOD
Does this make me sound like a parent? Well, that’s ok. I am one. But there’s a good justification for this advice. Digestion starts way before food ever reaches your belly – it actually starts in your mouth! Saliva plays a crucial role in digestion. When you eat that mouth watering food more slowly, your body is able to produce more of that slobber that helps break down your food. Saliva does after all have enzymes in it. What’s my point? The slower you eat, the better your body can absorb the nutrients from whatever you’re eating!
GET PLENTY OF SLEEP
I’m not very good at following this one myself. I’m often up late at night writing articles and working on websites, but you should know that your sleep and gut health go hand in hand, each influencing the other. If you’re not getting the right nutrition, it may be more difficult to get a good night of sleep each night. And if you aren’t sleeping right, you’ll have more health issues.
This probably sounds like a crazy cycle, right? Well it can be. But if you’re stuck in a poor-nutrition-poor-sleep cycle, you need to break it. Remember sleep is when our body is able to regenerate and repair itself. That’s why doctors tell sick patients to get plenty of sleep. So do it!
THAT SUMS IT UP
These four things will make a difference in your gut health and how you feel. Don’t believe me? Well work them into your life and just see for yourself how much better you feel? We’ve all heard “beauty starts from within”, but I bet you had no idea they meant inside your gut.