Gut Bacteria and Sense of Well-being
Three-Pronged Approach to a Healthy Gut
For many decades, most of us thought the brain was the only connection to our health outcomes. We now understand the Gastrointestinal System (GI System) plays a large role in our health and sense of well-being. The GI system is not only responsible for the digestion of food, but is a vital part of our immune system functioning, how we “feel” about ourselves, interpret our environment, and learn and adapt to stress and challenges.
Inside our GI ecosystem there are 100,000 trillion microorganisms including friendly bacteria (microbiota); responsible for valuable health. Consider that microbiota can influence immunity, vitamin and amino acid synthesis, hormone and neurotransmitter creation, metabolism, and so much more. Neurotransmitters, hormones, and vitamins play a huge part in our mental health. There are also invasive bacteria which cause disease if they overgrow and offset the balance of the system. The microbiota in your body is as unique to you as your fingerprint!
The first part of this blog will provide a breakdown of how an imbalance and unhealthy gut can lead to significant symptoms. Here is a brief breakdown:
An unhealthy gut can be linked to symptoms of:
- Chronic Inflammation
- Fatigue/Low Energy
- Weight Gain
- Cravings for unhealthy food or substances
- Acid reflux or Heartburn
- Joint Pain
- Difficulty with focus and concentration
- Foggy Thinking
- Skin Issues (Acne, Eczema, Psoriasis, Rash)
The cause of imbalance in the gut can be linked to:
- Increased Antibiotic Use
- Processed Sugars
- Processed Oils
- Food Additives
- Pesticides on food or pollutants in the water
- Alcohol use
- High levels of stress or anxiety that weaken the immune system
- Bacterial infections (e. coli, salmonella)
Tools to balance the Gut Bacteria:
- Curious Awareness. Becoming connected and aware of your body with curiosity instead of avoidance or judgement.
- Avoid Antibiotic use unless necessary
- Consume Prebiotics and Probiotics to help replenish friendly bacteria
- High Fiber Foods (Beans, Broccoli, Berries, Whole Grains, etc.)
- Increase your intake of Fermented Foods (low sugar yogurt, kombucha, Sauerkraut, etc.)
- Only consume sugar, processed oils and alcohol in moderation
- Wash all fruits and vegetables from the store
- Consume organic (no pesticides) fruits and vegetables from your own or community garden
- Stay hydrated with filtered water
- Spices- Ginger, Turmeric, Cumin, Fennel, Garlic, Cloves, Cinnamon.
- Morning Sunlight exposure
- Eliminate eating 2-3 hours before bedtime and give your gut time to rest until Morning Break-Fast
- Daily Movement including Walking, Yoga, Stretching, etc.
What now with my gut?
We recommend a three-pronged approach. Attack your gut issues with a highly effective trifecta: a nutritionist, a therapist, a doctor. Work with a Nutritionist to develop a balanced eating plan that fits your goals and lifestyle. Work with a Therapist to bring awareness and connectedness to the body and eliminate any subconscious blocks to harmonizing the Mind-Body System. Work with your Doctor on to establish regular physical check-ups and blood work, finding the right probiotics, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and discussions on how to treat viral infections without antibiotic use.
Call New Directions today at 724-934-3905. We have therapists and nutritionists that can work with your doctor on significantly improving your gut health.