Gut-Health. It's among the new topics of the nutrition world, and for once for very good reason. It's not in fact a new buzzword or trend - it's ancient history making it's way back into our modern world and for that I am praising the Lord. Hippocrates said somewhere around 400BC that all disease starts in the gut and it's taken us this long to link it to over 170 diseases!
70 million people in the US alone have some type of digestive disease like IBS, diverticulitis, Celiac, Chron's, C. Diff and SIBO, just to name a few. Other ailments like allergies, asthma, Alzheimer's, diabetes, cancer, autoimmune and heart disease are now all traced back to an unhealthy gut.
And what about symptoms associated with gut imbalance? Have you ever felt fatigued? Had brain fog or mood swings? Low libido? Skin issues like eczema? Anxiety? Felt hormonal? Depression? Stress? Oh, and have you ever been sick? 80% of our immune system resides in the gut!
We do not have to look far to see EVERYONE needs to have their gut in optimal health to be at their best. 1,000,000 US employees miss work every day due to workplace stress. Employees with depression miss an average of 27 more work days per year. These stats are REAL and SCARY.
This is an epidemic of "Broken Brains" as stated by Dr. Mark Hyman of the UltraWellness Center.
The good news to combat all these bad statistics is now that we are figuring out the root cause, we have solutions and therefore, we have HOPE.
In the next few months, I am going to be sharing a lot about how to regain gut-brain health. For now, let me give you just a few or the many tips I have been soaking up in my grad class at IIN. Starting here, we can Master our Microbiome together. Mental wellness needs to be a part of our health + wellness regime.
We need to realize the strength of the gut-brain axis by paying attention to our gut feelings. We digest food faster when we are angry or anxious. The journey our food takes through the 30-foot tube slows down significantly is we are depressed. Instead of just concentrating on WHAT we eat, I challenge you to focus on HOW, WHEN and WHERE you eat, as well as WHO you eat with. Are the kids running around while you scarf down your meal? Are you sitting in front of your computer screen finishing lunch while doing a project? These things matter to the way we absorb nutrients while breaking down our food. We need to pay attention to how we FEEL as well as how we EAT. The mind-gut connection is strong!
A healthy microbiome is one without disease that is full of diverse bacteria that produces essential vitamins, short-chain fatty acids, and immune regulating molecules. Here are five ways to weed the garden of your microbiome to reduce bad overgrowth:
Limit the use of NSAIDS.
Reduce the use of antibiotics.
Discontinue using harsh antibacterial soaps and cleaning products.
Don’t overdo it on meat. When you do eat it, organic only.
Avoid artificial sweeteners.
Sources and Additional Reading:
"Broken Brain" docuseries, Dr. Mark Hyman, 2017.
Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2018.
Mental Health Stats in the Workplace, Amare Global, 2017.