An unhealthy gut is often the source of many common health issues as it’s connected to nearly every system in the body. Common health problems related to the gut are mental health problems like anxiety or depression, skin issues like acne or eczema, autoimmune conditions like Ulcerative Colitis or MS, and much more!
When it comes to healing your gut through diet and lifestyle changes, often the best thing you can do is follow KISS… Keep It Simple Silly!
The simpler the better. Whenever I’m experiencing a flare up, whether it be my stomach cramping/aching or a breakout of pimples, I go back to the basics… and they always work!
1) Eat whole foods that make your body feel good.
Focus on eating REAL foods that make your body feel the best. This involves tuning in and listening to your body. Again, keep it as simple and basic as possible! You don’t need to follow complicated recipes because all this does is cause more frustration, making it easier to fall off track. Build your meals with 3 simple ingredients:
Protein: chicken, tofu, beef, fish, etc
1/2 plate non-starchy cooked vegetables: leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, etc), zucchini, bell peppers, etc
1/4 plate starchy vegetable: carrots, potato, sweet potato, squash, etc
2) Cut the crap that makes your body feel bad.
Avoid eating any foods that DON’T make you feel the best! Pretty obvious, but don’t put anything into your mouth that you know doesn’t sit well with your stomach. If you don’t already know what these foods are for you, take note of any bad symptoms such as, bloating, indigestion, nausea, diarrhea, you experience after eating certain foods and make a list. This could be anything, it really depends on the individual, but usually the culprits are: dairy, gluten/wheat, fried foods, processed foods with artificial ingredients, and refined sugary foods. Cut these foods out, even for a short amount of time to start (1-2 weeks) to see how you feel without them. Once you begin to feel better you can try to re-introduce them into your diet.
3) Add plenty of gut-healing & probiotic rich foods.
It’s important to add in anti-inflammatory foods that will reduce irritation of the gut and support healing. Probiotic rich foods will provide good bacteria for your gut to keep it healthy and functioning optimally. Begin to incorporate foods like bone broth, ginger, turmeric, aloe vera, collagen, chamomile tea, fresh sauerkraut, and kefir (if tolerated) to help your tummy heal and feel great.
4) Reduce stress & practice mindfulness.
Now, most importantly, don’t ignore your stress! Find ways to manage and reduce stress because it will destroy your gut if not addressed. I always say… when you’re stressed or anxious, where do you feel it? YOUR GUT! So just imagine what built up stress does to your gut overtime. There are a few simple ways to reduce stress such as walking, laughing, playing with a pet, meditating, yoga, and going out in nature. Even more importantly, slow down when eating. Make time for meals and take a few deep breaths before eating to relax your Central Nervous Sytem which will allow you to digest properly. Practice being mindful when eating. Chew your food thoroughly and pause between bites to help with good digestion.
By using food and healthy lifestyle practices to heal the gut, you are in turn supporting your overall health so that you can feel your best and truly enjoy life! If you suffer from health issues, you may need to turn your attention to healing your gut to feel better. Give these 4 steps a try and remember, small changes add up to big changes overtime!
*If you have any concerns, please always consult with your doctor before beginning any new regimens.
Jenn Horowitz, FNTP, CPT is a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Certified Personal Trainer who works to address the root cause of illness. Jenn is the founder of JTH Wellness, a holistic health nutrition counseling practice specialized in helping people with stomach problems take control of their health through nutrition and lifestyle changes. Jenn works to support and educate others so that they can enjoy life again, pain and worry free. Learn more about Jenn’s nutrition counseling services and schedule a free 15-minute discovery session by visiting her website, http://www.JTHwellness.com.