Our gut plays a powerful role in our lives, and for good reason. Years of research tells us our gut is at the very heart of our health as it plays a huge role in our physical and mental well-being.
What makes up our gut?
Most people are under the impression that our gut is only our stomach. In reality, it starts in our mouth and includes our esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, pancreas, and liver. Your gut is healthy when you have a strong intestinal lining with a balance of good and bad bacteria–this bacteria is called our gut microbiome and weighs about 3 pounds!
When you have gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of bacteria), it leaves you susceptible to a wide range of illnesses including chronic inflammation, hormonal issues, and even autoimmune disease.
Why is this important?
Hippocrates once stated “all disease begins in the gut”. Though other factors like environmental toxins or genetic predispositions contribute to the progression of disease, an unhealthy gut will often be found as the root cause of physical and mental illness.
You might be wondering “what does my gut have to do with my mental health?”. To put it simply, your gut and brain communicate CONSTANTLY through the vagus nerve. When we eat an excess of highly processed foods or fail to consume the nutrients we need to thrive, our gut sends stress signals to our brain, leading to anxiety and depression. Conversely, when we are in a constant state of stress, our gut motility slows down and bad bacteria grows, causing IBS symptoms.
If we want to flourish in our lives and experience vibrancy and an abundance of energy, we have to create a flourishing gut first!
How do you start the healing process?
The first step in the healing process is learning to be mindful of things that are negatively affecting our health. Once we begin to address these factors, we can start seeing results in as little as a few weeks!
Stress. Stress is one of the first things I tell my clients to address when starting their healing journey! Stress affects your gut motility, promotes the growth of bad bacteria, and even changes stomach acid secretion. Relief looks different for everyone so find something that works for YOU. Don’t feel like you have to do yoga every day if it isn’t your cup of tea. Run, dance, beat a punching bag–anything that puts your mind at ease as long as it’s healthy and enjoyable!
Diet. Certain foods cause inflammation that can kill good gut bacteria and allow bad bacteria to thrive. You can never go wrong with favoring fresh, whole foods. If you don’t know what to eat, try the magic plate. The magic plate is ⅓ high quality protein, ⅓ green vegetables, ⅓ starchy vegetable or green and 1 – 3 tbsp high quality fats. The biggest thing to remember is that you don’t need to restrict in order to heal your gut. Food is meant to be enjoyed and creating rules around food only adds stress to your healing journey!
Sleep. Lack of sleep spikes cortisol, which mimics the stress of the blood sugar roller coaster and its harmful effects, such as weight gain, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, depression, decreased immune function, and more. Incorporating a nighttime routine can help you wind down and promote more restful, deep sleep.
Keep in mind these three factors are just a starting point! You also have to consider your relationship with food, limiting beliefs, mindset, and so much more when you want to turn your health around. For a comprehensive approach to a thriving gut catered to YOUR needs, check out the Gut Health Agency for a body-mind-soul approach to healing or book a call with me to ask questions about my gut healing protocol!