What it is, signs to look for, and how you can improve yours!
Gut health has been a hot topic in the fitness community recently, and for a good reason! The health of what scientists call our second brain is essential to the functionality of your entire body. When the gut is operating at optimal capacity, you can rest assured that your organs, decision-making, and self-confidence are too. Contrarily, when the stomach is out of balance, you can experience stomach disorders, gassiness, bloating, and discomforting constipation. So, try these tips to keep your gut happy!
All About the Gut
The “gut” refers to the body’s gastrointestinal tract, also known as the GI tract. It’s the most significant part of the digestive system that breaks down food and transports nutrients throughout the body.
The gut has trillions of microorganisms that comprise the gut’s microbiome and consist of “good” and “bad” bacteria. Good bacteria are the ones we receive from clean, whole foods, such as fruits, veggies, grains, etc. Ba bacteria are the bacteria found in sugar and unnatural, processed foods.
The body takes in all these microorganisms, good and bad alike, and synthesizes them into other compounds that the body needs. So, while the body needs both types of bacteria if the amount of harmful bacteria ever starts to exceed typical levels, that is a sign of poor gut health, where problems begin to arise.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
If your gut is out of balance, you will likely be able to tell. According to expert physicians at Orlando Health, poor gut health almost always renders noticeable physical symptoms, such as the following:
- Body aches/pains
- Mental health issues (such as depression and anxiety)
- Irregular weight loss/gain
- Inflammation (bloating)
- Fatigue or lethargy
“I was dealing with bloating, constipation, and eating whatever the heck was convenient. My weight constantly fluctuated due to digestion issues”— Holistic Nutrition Coach and Gut Health Guru Tiyanna Page in an exclusive interview with PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT
Foods To Improve Gut Health
While simply maintaining a balanced, healthy diet is more than enough to ensure gut health, certain foods are exceptional for rebuilding the microbiome. Prebiotics and probiotics are the two food groups that stimulate the strongest production of good bacteria in the gut. According to Mayo Clinic, prebiotics act as fertilizers for good bacteria, while probiotics are foods that contain live good bacteria themselves.
Prebiotics are in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Some foods that are high in prebiotics are:
Probiotics are in dairy products and fermented foods. Some foods that are high in probiotics are:
- Aged Cheese
“I try to get three meals in a day with a snack or dessert. So for lunch, I’ll have a carb, protein, and veggie. I’ll have another protein choice for dinner with double greens, wine, and vegan cookies.”— Holistic Nutrition Coach and Gut Health Guru Tiyanna Page in an exclusive interview with PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT
Lifestyle Habits for a Healthy Gut
•Take Supplements: Prebiotic and probiotic supplements are a great way to ensure your body receives all the nutrients needed to build a healthy gut. You can get BOTH in these tasty gummies for only $11.99 at Amazon. Check it out, then peek at some of our other favorite supplements.
•Regular Exercise: According to Everyday Health, regular exercise, and physical activity can help promote gut health. “Exercising causes important changes that help gut microbes to bloom and convert, and, coinciding with that, we get molecules our bodies can utilize,” Dr. Valentino of Everyday Health states.
•Proper Sleep: The body heals itself while sleeping, so a good night’s rest is pivotal for ensuring that your gut has time to perform necessary tasks and keep your body functioning correctly. Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep each night!
“Be realistic. Set a goal with mini action steps. If your goal is to lose weight, don’t just try and cut everything out so you can lose weight quickly or reverse it. If you’re trying to gain, some curves, start eating everything to get thick. No. None of that stuff works. Instead, I suggest writing out that goal, then starting a three-day written food log to see where you are now. For some that may be eating more protein and for others making some conscious snack swaps, this will help you find out where you can begin creating intentions for change.”— Holistic Nutrition Coach and Gut Health Guru Tiyanna Page in an exclusive interview with PRETTY GIRLS SWEAT
How do you keep your gut happy? Let us know in the comments down below!