This might sound weird, but did you know you have two brains?
Yes, feel free to revel in the fact that you are so smart that you have two brains. Your actual brain is part of the central nervous system and sends almost all voluntary messages to the body via the spinal cord, BUT, did you know that your GUT serves as your body’s second (and involuntary) brain and that your GUT health is one of the keys preventing you from disease?
You’ve inevitably heard the expression “listen to your gut” and there’s actually a lot of truth to this. Your gut “microbiome” (as it’s known) actually has a mind of it’s very own and is the key to managing your immunity and your health. Your entire gastrointestinal tract makes up 70% of your Immune system and is home to 100 million neurons that transmit information throughout your body and send information to the brain to let it know how things are going in your belly. In addition, the gut holds trillions of bacteria that help process your food, produce nutrients, and fight disease. In a healthy gut, your ratio of bacteria should be 80-85% good bacteria and 15-20% bad bacteria and studies show that most Americans have the exact opposite ration (80-85% bad and 15-20% good).
Cool fact: there are ten times more bacteria in your gut than cells in your entire body!
Yes, with all this “life” going on inside your gut microbiome, these little bacteria are literally the key to your overall well-being both physically and mentally. If you have any of these symptoms: Inconsistent energy levels, chronic aches & pains, trouble losing weight, skin issues, digestive ailments, arthritis, fertility issues, constant fatigue, unhealthy cravings for food, allergies, hives, migraines, fibromyalgia, infertility, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, it could be as simple as your gut bacteria being out of proper ratio.
If you want better immunity, better digestion and elimination and just generally better physical and emotional health, you should focus solely on rebuilding your gut health.
So how can you heal your gut and improve your immunity?
#1 Eat the Right Foods. What you eat, drink and actually what you think affects the environment in your gut. Your gut microbiome responds to what you feed it.
Here are some quick tips:
- Remove the sugar and processed foods from your diet. Sugar is a TOXIN and the chemicals in processed food get absorbed quickly into your small intestine which can lead to Leaky gut. This leads to systemic inflammation and a number of other conditions, including autoimmunity. Also stay away from artificial sweeteners alcohol and coffee.
- Eat whole foods, plant-based, nutrient-dense foods. This helps plant your gut with healthy and diverse bacteria. BUT, also be sure to get a balance of healthy fats and protein with each meal as well.
- Include fermented foods in your diet. Eat sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kefir, yogurt (not processed), and drink kombucha. Add a high-quality probiotic to your regimen as well that can also help your gut ecosystem.
- Try a food elimination diet to determine if you have any food allergies. The only way to know if certain foods are affecting you is to strip them from your diet completely for 30 days and then let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing.**
#2 WATER, WATER, WATER. Drinking a good quality water out of a BPA glass bottle AND mixing up your water source has a lot of benefits or your health, but also helps your gut.
#3 REDUCE STRESS & RELAX more. One of the most important factors to healing your gut is your own consciousness. If your microbiome is out of balance, you may feel anxious, depressed, or tired. You may also suffer from memory problems or brain fog. In addition to eating the right foods, try to get into a meditative state prior to eating.
#4 Avoid Antacids and Antibiotics. Unless you know you have high stomach acid, stop taking antacids! Many people have low stomach acid, but think they have too much and take antacids. Instead supplement with a high quality digestive enzyme. Also try to limit your use of antibiotics. While they are necessary sometimes, and can be life-saving, most antibiotics are over-prescribed. If you have to take it, always take your probiotics during treatment to re-seed your gut with healthy bacteria.
#5 Exercise in the right proportion for your body and schedule! Overtraining can be just as bad as undertraining or being too sedentary. unless you’re a high level athlete, training 5+ days a week for more than an hour can wreak havoc on your hormones and your gut. It’s important see a qualified professional that can help you decide how often to train, what exercises are right for your body type and when to and weight and how much weight.