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THE INTEL On Gut Health
The well-known phrase, “you are what you eat”, may not be as far fetched as some think. To be more accurate, “you are what you are able to digest”. The function of digestion is to absorb the right nutrients from your food to fuel your bodily organs. But if your gut-health is off, that means your digestion is off (hi, skin inflammation and bowel movement issues).
You can be the healthiest person on the planet and still suffer from poor gut-health. Gut-health is the harmonious balance of the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Once the delicate balance is disrupted, your gut-health may wreak havoc in a few different ways.
Your gastrointestinal tract is 9 meters long and each inch serves a different purpose along the way; your food is slowly being broken down meter by meter to be fully absorbed into your bloodstream. Each corner and bend provides a home for varying microorganisms that do individual things. But what if your home is not habitable? Poor gut-health can open yourself up to bacteria (not the good kind) and viruses, which lead to illness. Digestive diseases, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Celiac Disease, Crohn’s Disease, and food intolerances can be hindrances to gut-health and people with these predispositions need to be mindful of their gut-health as they are more susceptible to illness.
Here are signs of good gut-health:
- Clear skin
- Solid bowel movements, on a timely schedule (at least 3 time a week/day–everyone will vary)
- The timeframe of food traveling through your gastrointestinal tract (everyone will vary but typically between 24-48 hours)
- Rarely any bloating/gas
Here are signs of poor gut-health:
- Loose bowel movements/constipation
- Fatigue and poor sleep
- Skin blemishes
- Bad breath/halitosis
- Unintentional weight changes
How can we fix our gut-health? The answer is pretty simple; eating a balanced diet.
- Fermented Food – such as yogurt and kombucha. Fermented foods introduce healthy probiotics into your system and are critical for healthy digestion.
- Prebiotics – such as garlic and beans. Prebiotic is food for your bacteria, by feeding the bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract, you are making them strong and stable. If you have allergies or aversions to the list of prebiotic food, they do come in supplemental form.
- Fiber – such as whole grains and fruits. When you eat fiber, your bacteria is also eating the fiber, which then produces a chemical in your gastrointestinal tract that has anti-inflammatory properties–however, those with certain digestive diseases may need to find an alternative. Fiber is key for healthy digestion which causes healthy stool production/excretion.
- Added sugar – such as soda and candies. Sugar can cause inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract. This can lead to compositional changes in your gut microbiome and alter your gut-health for the worse. Added sugar should be avoided as much as possible, instead, opt for naturally occurring sugars (found in fruits).
Everyone, at some point in their lives, will deal with digestive issues. Whether it is chronic or random, healing your gut-health will prove to be the best decision you can make for your body. The food you eat is feeding the billions of bacteria that make a home in your gastrointestinal tract and keeping them happy will provide countless benefits. By varying your diet, you can create a home for varying bacteria that serve different purposes, which will let your microbiome thrive.
Rebalance your gut health with this recipe:
Broccoli Cauliflower Soup – Serves 2
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 yellow diced onion
- 1 garlic clove
- 2 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1 cup bone broth
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Set a large stock pot on medium-low heat, add olive oil.
- Dice onion and mince garlic, then add to the pot.
- Stir occasionally for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent.
- Add broccoli and cauliflower, bone broth, coconut milk, and sea salt.
- Turn the heat up to medium-high and let cook until the vegetables are fork tender.
- Use an immersion blender or transfer to a separate blender and combine until the soup is completely mixed.
- Serve and enjoy!
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