Your gut or GIT (Gastro Intestinal Tract) is your first and major barrier to the outside world and represents 70% of your immune system.
What’s a healthy gut?
A healthy gut is when there is a ratio of approximately 85:15 of Good:Bad bacteria present. It has been reported that most people in the western world have these ratios flipped, 15 parts good to 85 parts bad!!!
Some of the easy, immediate ways to tell that your gut flora is out of balance include:
- Bloating and/or burping
- Not feeling a noticeably boost in energy after a meal
- Frequent & smelly gas (be honest)
- An abdominal distention (not improved with core work)
- Diarrhoea or constipation – Spending longer than 3 minutes for number 2s is too long (including the recommended 20 seconds of scrubbing hands).
- Slow transit time – Your corn skins or beets should be visible in your poo 12-24 hours after you eat them.
The longer-term signs of poor gut health can manifest as:
- Fungal or yeast infection e.g. Candida, thrush, ringworm, etc.
- Feeling spaced out, irritable or general brain fog
- Acne, eczema or other skin irritations
- High blood pressure and/or cholesterol
- Food intolerances or allergies increasing
- Poor libido
The major bad guys that destroy good gut bacteria include:
- The contraceptive pill
- Steroids and OTC medications e.g. anti-inflammatories for headaches etc.
- Tap/chlorinated water
- Refined sugars and other processed foods
- Regular caffeine and/or alcohol consumption
- Sleep deprivation
- Increased stress
On this last point ‘Stress’ in ANY form drains the mineral zinc from your body. Zinc is a key ingredient in making your stomach acids and digestive enzymes that break down food into nutrients.
The common vicious cycle that so many of us fall victim to is:
1st – We get stressed and/or tired
2nd – We turn to quick fixes to boost our energy i.e. caffeine, refined sugar & carbs and OTC medications
3rd – These habits decrease our digestive enzymes/strength so we decrease our absorption of nutrients from ALL our foods
4th – We become conditioned and addicted to the quick fixes that are progressively making our gut problems worse
5th – We become accustomed to having less energy and more body fat as we age, so many people seek stronger medical attention to ‘fix’ us
If you suffer from any of the short or long-term issues mentioned and you’d like to clean up your gut to see just how amazing you can look and feel, try making these foods and beverages a habit:
- Fermented vegetables – Sauerkraut is the most common but there are a range of others available (start by looking in a health food store)
- Kombucha – This fermented drink is becoming more popular and accessible; it’s available online or in selected health food stores, try to choose one with no refined sugar
- Kefir – Not the most appetising beverage, so slam it down like a shot and feel the goodness seep through your body.
- Natural yoghurt with added probiotics – I like the brand ‘Barambah’ as it’s unhomogenised, creamy and delicious.
- Cultured butter – A little more expensive but 1000 times better than supermarket organic butter. I’ve never found a tastier butter than Pepe Saya http://www.pepesaya.com.au/ LOVE this stuff!
- Eat a variety of fibres – Check out ‘Bran’ in the ‘Quick Search’ function of the BBB app.
- A probiotic supplement – These can help, look for ones with 3-5 billion live organisms with several different strands of bacteria.
Probiotic supplements can help, particularly if you’ve just had a cycle of antibiotics. However, I find consumption of the other 6 foods as part of your weekly habits gives you a much broader range of pre and probiotics as well as countless other benefits.
The foods and beverages mentioned above are full of life. They will help recolonise and repopulate your gut with good gut flora so that you feel more energetic, focused, healthier and happier.
Use the BBB app to help remind you of all these healthy habits that bring you:
- A general happy mood, not fake happy, but a calm & relaxed contentment
- A sharper mind – Not a pepped up one high on caffeine
- A flatter stomach – No inflammation = a flat stomach without much ab work
- Odour-free flatulence. I hate to brag but I’ve been clean for just over 3 years thanks to my daily healthy habits.
Please pass this on to anyone you think it would help.