Health is a state of body. Wellness is a state of being.J Standford
We all know that our health is of the utmost importance, and as an ND my passion is helping people achieve their health goals with compassion and the support tools they need. Wellness encompasses the mind, body and spirit, and in my experience you can’t heal one without addressing the other two.
The gut is an area where I focus on a lot in my practice, as I find that it is so easily affected by stress and external influences (medications, food, toxins, etc) and that it also affects other parts of our body, as well as our mental and emotional state. If you want to work on one organ system that has the greatest effect on all systems in the body, it’s the gut!
Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said over 2000 years ago that all disease begins in the gut. I like to keep things positive, so accordingly, all health begins in the gut as well! 90% of our body’s serotonin (our feel-good brain hormone) is made in the gut, and 80% of our immune system lies in our gut. We also absorb all of our nutrients (such as amino acids, vitamins, and minerals) in our gut. In other words, our gut is important!
Here are some signs that you may want to heal your gut:
- low energy;
- mood swings, anxiety or depression;
- frequent colds or flus;
- low iron, b12 or other nutrients;
- bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, gas, abdominal discomfort.
Below are some tips on how to start healing your gut.
Try an anti-inflammatory diet
- A whole food diet is recommended, while avoiding any common, suspected and known food allergens. A whole food diet entails avoiding the most common inflammatory foods and beverages, such as gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, coffee, alcohol, processed food, nightshade vegetables (white potatoes, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes), red meat, seafood, peanuts, and citrus fruits.
- Reintroduce each food over three days at a time, and journal any reaction, so you know which foods are a trigger. This is called the elimination-challenge diet, and it is the gold standard to identify food triggers.
Choose the right drinks
- Start your day off with a cup of warm water, with half a lemon squeezed into it or one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Try to avoid coffee first thing in the morning. Aim to have coffee only after meals.
- Make sure you’re drinking enough clean (i.e. filtered) water. Aim for at least two litres a day.
Choose a good probiotic
- Choose a probiotic that contains a lot of different strains of good bacteria and, if you have digestive issues, that has a count of over 50 billion bacteria. Switch your probiotic every three months so that you get exposure to different strains and avoid an overgrowth.
Check for dysbiosis
- Identify whether you have a parasite, candida overgrowth, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), or dysbiosis. Often we have critters living in our gut that we never knew about that are creating issues. Working with your doctor or an ND practitioner can help to determine whether this is happening.
- The gut is so sensitive to stress. We actually have cortisol (stress hormone) receptors in our gut that sense when our body is on alert.
- Try to manage stress with yoga, meditation, talk therapy, exercise, or whatever calms your mind.