Trust your gut”
“I had a gut instinct”
“You’ve got good guts; trust them”
“Go with your gut”
Guts are important! Why do you think so many phrases like the ones above revolve around them? To cultivate healthy microflora in the gut, follow these four tips:
1. Avoid fatty foods – There are lots of reasons to avoid fatty foods, and cultivating a healthy gut is one just one of them. Fatty foods can damage the lining of the gut and can raise the level of unfriendly bacteria.
Action Step – Skip the fatty foods and aim for naturally low-fat foods like lean protein and fruits and vegetables. Avoid packaged foods that are labeled “low-fat” and stick to eating real, whole foods.
2. Choose probiotics – Before you run out and buy a supplement, try getting your probiotics from real food. Yogurt and other fermented foods will help you get the good probiotics your gut needs. If you aren’t eating enough probiotics, then you might want to look for a supplement to help you along.
Action Step – Add some of these probiotic foods into your diet:
Kimchi – A spicy Korean cabbage dish that is fermented much like sauerkraut. You can find it the ethnic foods section of your grocery store, or, at most Korean grocery stores.
Kombucha – Kombucha is one of my faves! It’s made by fermenting black tea. It’s got a tangy taste that I find totally refreshing. Be careful though; kombucha can contain trace amounts of alcohol due to the fermenting process, so be careful if you’ll be drinking your kombucha on the go!
Miso – Miso is a mixture of soybeans, barley, rice, and other grains. Miso paste makes a great base for soups. To get the maximum probiotic power of miso don’t let it come to a boil, instead, add it to your soup mix just before it comes off the heat.
Yogurt – Look for plain yogurt and steer clear of the sugar-laden fruity varieties. If you want a natural fruit taste, mix your yogurt with fresh berries and a touch of honey.
3. Control stress – Stress can seriously impact the makeup of your gut flora. Stress can affect your immune system and can cause a sharp decrease in the beneficial bacteria that is naturally a part of your gut. Don’t believe me on the impact that stress has to your gut? How many times have you had an upset stomach or diarrhea in the midst of or as a result of a stressful event? Eliminating stress can help restore the natural balance of your gut and keep everything in good working order.
Action Step – Figure out what’s causing your stress and take measures to eliminate or reduce these stressful things. Practice some deep breathing, drink a glass or water, or get up and take a walk when you feel anxious. If time allows, grab your journal or a piece of paper and write down what’s causing you angst. Learn to recognize the triggers and avoid them whenever possible.
4. Eat prebiotics – You can promote healthy flora in your gut with prebiotics, which contain non-digestible carbs – found in artichokes, asparagus, garlic, leeks, onions, and whole grains. Regular prebiotic intake has been shown to decrease the uncomfortable symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome which affects approximately 25 – 45 million people in the US.
Action Step – Eat up! Make those good prebiotic foods part of your regular dietary intake.
There you have it! TRUST YOUR GUT and take steps to protect it! You’ll be glad you did!
Take care of yourself, be nice to yourself, and be well. And until next time – veg in, don’t veg out.
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