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What's Up with Your Gut?

Gut health is a popular topic right now, but I think the majority have no clue what to think when they hear the term "gut health". So, what's up with your gut? Let's get a few basics out of the way! When we are talking about your gut health we need to define what your digestive tract is first! Our digestive tract begins in your mouth, then flows to your esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and rectum)

When people talk about your gut, they are more specifically speaking about the trillions of bacteria (microorganisms), good and bad, that colonize these spaces. What goes in your body through your mouth, happens in between, and comes out at the end, is extremely important to your health. Poor gut health can be the cause of many diseases.


GUT FACTS

70% of our immune system is housed in our gut as well. Hormone production that communicates with our brain starts in the gut. The digestive tract is lined and protects your body from foreigners entering your bloodstream and other parts of the body. Our gut produces acids to kill the bad "bugs" and invaders from our food and environment. It also produces enzymes and hormones to break down food and absorb vitamins and nutrients so we can use them and function well. So, when there is dysfunction happening in any of these spaces, it is usually bad news for the rest of your operating system.

So many of us today experience gas, bloating, irregular bowel movements, anxiety, depression, and other symptoms and illnesses, and many of these problems can be traced back to something going wrong in the gut. When our microbiome is out of balance it impacts our nutrient absorption, detoxification, gut lining, mood, appetite, food cravings, and mental function.


THE GUT MICROBIOME

Our gut microbiome also determines the glycemic load of your foods, which determines your insulin response. The more glucose you absorb, the higher your insulin will be, potentially leading you to insulin resistance and obesity. If you are someone who can't seem to lose weight despite following a healthy diet and lifestyle, this is a good place to look.

There are many things that can go wrong in the digestive tract and gut microbiome, we will only address a few of them because there are many. It is important to remember that being diagnosed with something like IBS or gluten intolerance is different than getting to the root cause of why you developed that issue in the first place.


4 CAUSES OF GUT ISSUES

1. The SAD diet (Standard American Diet) is to blame for the majority of our gut dysfunction in this country. Americans are eating too much-processed food, alcohol, sugar, and fake food substances and it's messing up our very well-designed system. We aren't getting enough fiber from real vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, or fermented foods, which help feed your good bacteria.

Did you know your gut microbiome starts developing in your mother's womb and on into infancy either by breastfeeding or formula feeding? What your mother ate determined what good and bad microorganisms populated your GI tract from the beginning of your life.


2. Stress impacts the blood flow to your gut lining creates inflammation, and affects the quality of your gut flora.


3. Medications can damage your gut lining, wipe out good and bad bacteria, and lower stomach acid that is there to protect you from unfriendly invaders!


4. Vitamin and nutrient deficiencies can also lead to gut microbiome disruption.


POTENTIAL OUTCOMES

Leaky gut, Gut Dysbiosis, such as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), and food sensitivities and allergies are amongst the most common "gut issues" you may hear about. Many people have infections, parasites, and pathogens in their GI tract, they just don't know about it because they never get tested to find out.


6 TIPS TO FIX YOUR GUT

So, what's the solution? There is no one-size-fits-all fix for Gut Health, but like your nutrition, there are some basics:

1. Start paying attention to your body's cues. Pay attention to recurring symptoms and new symptoms and track them, along with your food and sleep.


2. Eat more real food! Eat vegetables, like dark leafy greens, broccoli, and cabbage. Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi. Drink WATER and skip the soda, booze, and dyed, sugar-free, additive-loaded drinks.


3. Chew your food! Sit down, slow down, and chew your food. We live in an age where we are always in a hurry, and always on our phones. Pay attention to your hunger cues, and your fullness cues, especially while you eat. Did you know it can take up to 20 minutes for our stomach to tell our brain we are full? So, practice mindful eating.


4. Brush, floss, and take care of your mouth. This is the entry point for harmful bacteria and a breeding ground for them to grow. People who have healthy gums and teeth are healthier overall.


5. Supplement when needed and make sure you are getting variety in your supplements, food, and exercise. Your body needs diversity. This includes probiotics and prebiotic foods. You don't want to be taking the same probiotic all the time, nor do you want to be eating the same 2 veggies all the time.


6. My last tip, if you are struggling and haven't gotten answers get a GI Map Test. This is a stool test that will tell you exactly what is going on in your gut and I bet you'll be surprised at your results. This is something that Functional Medicine or Holistic Practitioners would order, not your GP.

If you need help locating a practitioner who will order one reach out, I am happy to help.

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