Step 17 : Small Steps to Big Change Wellness Series

It’s time to get serious about your guts. They deserve your full attention.

No Guts, No Glory!

Not exactly the right context but without a happy gut you’re gonna feel far from glorious!

To keep our gut healthy we need to look after our microbiome – the official name for the trillions of bacteria that live in our guts and keep everything inside running smoothly. When things aren’t right with your gut bacteria – boy do you know about it! Reflux, gas, bloating and an overall dodgy gut, jippy tum  – whatever you call it, it ain’t good.

There are over 500 different types of bacteria in our gut, all with a different job. Some synthesize vitamins B, A and K, some produce substances to fight infection and manage our immune systems and some of the little beasts are responsible for making the happy hormone Seratonin. So the phrase happy and healthy, really does begin with gut health.

Step 17 –  Improve your Gut Health

If you feel like your gut could do with some TLC, or you’re battling with some digestive issues, taking a good probiotic while you sort out your diet is a great start.

But I know it can be super confusing when buying probiotics. All those weird names – how the hell are you supposed to know which bacteria you need?

Look for a probiotic with no junky filler ingredients, multiple strains of bacteria and between 5-20 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) to start with and build up from there. My family use Bio-Kult, and Gut Pro. But it’s a very personal thing, so chat to a nutritional therapist if you want a probiotic tailored to your needs.

If you’re interested in some of the reviews done on certain strains of bacteria supporting health issues like lactose intolerance, allergies and anxiety check out this site.

But it doesn’t stop there. You can’t just take a magic probiotic pill and BAM! Your gut is healthy.

Here are a couple of other things you can do to optimize your digestion and help keep the good bacteria happy and on form:

Chew your food! Digestion begins in the mouth, and the simple act of chewing food sends signals to the body to release a bunch of digestive enzymes.  When we wolf down our meals without stopping to chew, we are not helping things at all and it can leave us struggling to digest our lovely meals. Our stomachs don’t have teeth, so chew each mouthful properly!

Fabulous Fibre. Your gut bacteria loves fibre and most of us don’t eat nearly enough. Add in a good portion of oats, beans, wholegrains, veggies and whole fruit for a fabulous fibre boost.

Fermented foods. Yes, these are super popular right now but they’ve been around for ages! Sauerkraut, Kombucha, and Miso are all loaded with natural bacteria which help keep things perfectly in balance in your gut. Natural probiotics are amazing at supporting digestive function and a good digestion helps with weight loss, immunity and overall health. Include them in your meals as much as possible.

Lifestyle factors.  A friendly environment for the beneficial bacteria is essential for digestive efficiency, but a number of lifestyle factors can seriously screw things up. If you’re eating a poor diet, consuming large amounts of alcohol on a regular basis, living under constant stress, using painkiller or antacids on a frequent basis – the delicate balance of good bacteria to bad can be thrown off and things can turn nasty. Real nasty. Tackle one of these gut sabotaging habits today.

Here are some other SOS signs your body may be sending out due to gut imbalances:

Burn baby, burn. Weakness in digestive enzymes are often the cause of a burning sensation- and acid reflux is one of the first signs of LOW stomach acid! Yes, you read that right. Work with a nutritionist to find the right digestive enzyme supplement for you and the burning burps will be a thing of the past.

Gas alert! If the balance of gut bacteria has tipped in favour of the bad guys, you could be fermenting your food instead of digesting it. And where you ferment – you create gas. Lots of gas. Taking a good probiotic will rebuild your friendly bacteria army and get you back to proper digestion. Try this yoga pose for painful trapped gas and get your fart on! (Secret share: When the kids in my class do this as part of a yoga routine, I always have to open the windows!)

Bloat central.  If you feel like you are 6 month preggo with a bloated tum you are probably a bit constipated. Be sure you’re drinking water to keep all your internal membranes lubricated properly. It helps to drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal as this stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for proper digestion.

Yo-Yo feeling.  Do you flip between gas, bloating and loose poo with constipation and rabbit pellet poo? Your gut is definitely not happy 🙁  Take a probiotic and start a food/mood/poop diary. You may be able to pinpoint food sensitivities.

Wishing you and your gut, a happy and healthy week ahead.

Erin xx

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