Right now, in the fitness, medical, and lay media, a lot of attention is being focused on the gut.
No, I don’t mean your uncle’s beer belly — I mean what’s right behind your belly button.
Stomach, intestines, all that digestive jazz, keep you from falling apart in so many ways: from brain health to the immune system, the gut is truly amazing.
But it’s rare to find a healthy gut in a person doing, or having recently done, a well-liked diet and exercise program.
Everyone can usually identify direct gut symptoms: excessive gas, nausea, bloating, heartburn, and abdominal pain and/or distention.
But did you know that other, serious problems link right back to your gut too?
Learn to Spot the Signs!
The runs aren’t the only sign of a bad gut situation. But most people don’t know how to identify the other signs. What we do know is that when your gut does not work well, you get yourself in trouble.
So, I’ve put together a quick checklist of gut health.
If anything on this list raises your eyebrows, your tummy needs some help. Of course, there are several other variables, but the gut is involved with all of them and is of utmost importance for overall health.
Your Gut Checklist
Take this checklist one by one and honestly assess your gut— and how it reflects on your health as a whole. I’ve known people who suffered for YEARS before finding out it all came back to an unhealthy digestive track.
1 — Seeing Your Doctor a Little TOO Regularly?
Much of your immune system surrounds the gut, with over 80% of the lymph nodes neighboring it. That means your immune system (analogous to a military) knows where to anticipate foreign invaders coming into your body — through your gut! When the gut breaks down, due to a vigorous diet and exercise program, a vicious cycle starts to occur.
If you’re constantly down with something yucky, it could be your gut telling you something else is way wrong!
2 — Diet Down in the Dumps?
Your gut uses 1/3 of the blood flow from your heart and demands a large percentage of your overall metabolism. If your exercise/diet plan isn’t actually meeting your nutritional needs, guess who suffers first… your gut.
3 — Exercising Yourself… Sick?
With the high cortisol levels of over-exercising and the stress of life, your gut function and gut bacteria are changed. Mal-digestion begins and causes imbalance in the gut microbiome or gut bacteria, which we call dysbiosis. At the same time, the hormonal changes of over-exercising and nutritional deficiencies exacerbate the problem.
4 — Lookout for Leaks!
Losing your good gut bacteria will lead to increased permeability of the intestines, what we call a leaky gut. These leaks allows toxins to get in, as well as larger proteins that would not normally be allowed to cross the gut barrier. It’s the basic set-up for autoimmune diseases — yikes!
5 — Check your Stress.
The lining of your gut is also very sensitive to your nutritional and lifestyle choices. The lining is replaced every week or so and, if you are in a high-stress environment with poor nutrient intake, the gut lining fails to adequately support itself and do its job.
Tip: If you’re heavily exercising or doing much manual labor, keep an eye on your use of anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS, such as Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Aleve, etc. These drugs in excess will also damage the gut.
You Can Make a Change
Sometimes we’ve gone so long sick that we’ve forgotten what health even feels like.
A healthy gut can be defined as you having the following:
• More than one bowel movement a day
• Feeling good and energized after eating
• No undigested food in the stools
• No extreme food or drink cravings
• Balanced moods
• Good sleep and tons of energy upon awakening
If that sounds like a pipe dream, you’ve been living far too long without the gut care you deserve. To get there—especially if you’ve already done a number on your insides—you’ll need a little outside help, from your doctor, healthy supplements, and diet additions.
It’s easier than you think! Start with these simple changes:
- Probiotic Pill Supplements — Talk to your doctor about finding the ones you need and then plan to rotate them on a regular basis. Why rotate? Taking the same probiotic for months (years) at a time can cause that particular strain of bacteria to overgrow and take over (ultimate power = ultimate corruption).
- Homemade Yogurt and Kombucha — These snacks give you healthy doses of good bacteria your gut will thank you for!
- Fiber — It’s another good source of pre-biotics . If your gut is averse to necessary fiber intake, add a tablespoon of fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, once or twice a day. It tends to be a little easier on your gut in this situation.
Small Steps Over Time Yield Big Results
Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. — Benjamin Franklin
It’s important to remember that small changes over time lead to big changes overall. That’s the core to my RecoverMe framework. You’ve got to be patient with yourself and with your body and consider how everything works together.
Take small steps toward your goal and you’ll soon feel better, look better, and be better. That’s the key to whole health.
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