Today I’m going to share with you how to restore gut health. All disease begins in the gut.” –Hippocrates. If like me, you haven’t been in a Humanities class in a few years, let me catch you up. Hippocrates is known as the Father of Modern Medicine. You know the Hippocratic Oath that all doctors take? He gets the credit for that one.
How to Restore Gut Health
And considering he practiced medicine over 2000 years ago, he was surprisingly spot on with his medical advice:
Walking is a man’s best medicine.”
Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.”
If one wishes for good health, one must first ask himself if he is ready to do away with the reasons for his illness.”
The greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m VERY thankful to be living in a time when my son can receive the medical treatments he needs and when antibiotics are available to us. But at the same time, many illnesses could likely be avoided if we would just take better care of ourselves.
And that starts with your gut.
Signs Your Gut Isn’t Healthy
Research has shown that there are literally trillions of bacteria cells throughout our intestines. Some of these are “good” bacteria – they help promote digestion, boost our immune system, help to reduce carcinogens and toxins, and aid our bodies in absorbing nutrients. But there are also “bad” bacteria – which can cause all kind of issues!
Now the key to feeling better isn’t just knocking out all those bacteria. We need the good bacteria around. What we want to aim for is balance. We want to limit the bad bacteria while encouraging the good bacteria to flourish. So how do you know if the bad bacteria are winning?
Gas, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome – these are all signs that your gut bacteria are out of whack. While we all will deal with some digestive issues from time to time, if you find yourself constantly reaching for the Gas-X (or your family is wishing you would) it could be a sign your gut bacteria is out of balance.
Since the good bacteria helps your body absorb vitamins and minerals, if they aren’t flourishing you have a higher likelihood of being vitamin or mineral deficient. If you’re concerned you may be deficient, ask your doctor to run a blood panel to check your levels.
Like I said earlier, antibiotics are one of modern medicine’s greatest advancements. But if used incorrectly, they can create issues in the gut. While they will wipe out the bad bacteria attacking our body, they also kill good bacteria in the process.
It’s less common for doctors to prescribe antibiotics willy-nilly now, but back when I was a child, visiting the doctor with an illness meant I was going home with an antibiotic. But an antibiotic does nothing for viral infections, which are the most common. This overuse leads to a generation with seriously messed up guts.
Research has shown the gut has a major connection with your brain. There are over 100 million neurons in the walls of the intestines – more than in the spinal cord and peripheral nervous systems. A big part of our emotions is influenced by the gut. And about 90% of serotonin (which plays a role in depression) is found in the gut.
While scientists aren’t sure if depression is caused by gut issues or vice versa, they do know that the two commonly go hand in hand.
Autoimmune diseases are the third largest category of disease in America after cancer and heart disease. It’s been long known that autoimmune disease had a genetic component, but more recently Dr. Alessio Fasano realized that most autoimmune disease also had a connection to a “leaky gut.” source
You may already know that Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Hashimoto’s Thyroidosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Lupus are autoimmune diseases. But less known is that diseases like asthma and Type 1 Diabetes are also caused by autoimmune issues.
Getting Your Gut Back on Track
If you’re experiencing any of those signs, I’ve got good news for you! You can rebalance your gut bacteria to get on the track to better health.
But I’ll warn you up front – there is no quick and easy fix. I wish I could say “Just take this magic pill!” or “Eat this one superfood!” But it’s more complicated than that.
I’ve been harping on this one for a while, but today’s foods and household products are laden with toxins. Find something packaged in your pantry and often it will include a LONG list of ingredients you can’t pronounce. Your cleaning cabinet is even scarier (if that’s possible).
Our bodies are not used to ingesting these and, particularly when the gut bacteria is out of whack, finds itself unable to remove the toxins from our gut.
Likewise, lotions, makeup, shampoos, and household cleaners are filled with toxins we should be avoiding.
I’ve totally revamped my makeup and skincare routine to avoid as many of these toxins as possible by switching to Beautycounter exclusively for my makeup and skincare, and Morrocco Method for my hair.
And after learning about all the chemicals in modern cleaning products, I’ve transitioned back to the basics for cleaning, making my own cleaning products, and relying on Young Living’s Thieves Cleaner, Fruit & Veggie Wash, Dish Soap, Laundry Soap, hand soap and more.
My family even uses natural hand sanitizer instead of Purell.
Rest & Relaxation
Stress can heighten any gut issues going on. I’ve been focusing on rest this year, and it’s made a huge difference in the way I feel. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep at night. If you’re struggling, I’ve got some tips to help you rest better.
It’s also important to find moments of relaxation throughout the day. In our busy society, it’s common to go, go, go – from dawn until dusk! Aim to spend some time relaxing each day. It doesn’t need to take long. You could:
- Do 10 minutes of yoga.
- Take deep breaths while you’re waiting at a stoplight.
- Read a chapter of a book – just for fun!
- Spend some time in a relaxing bath.
Take a Quality Probiotic
Boost the good bacteria in your gut with a quality probiotic. My favorite is Young Living’s Life 9. When I’m really out of whack, I add in Sulferzyme and Digest & Cleanse for a month (and I always feel so much better).
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods, which are full of good bacteria, are a great addition to your diet to help balance the gut. These foods were quite common in our ancestor’s diets but aren’t eaten as much now.
Thankfully, they are making a comeback. You should easily be able to find a few options, likely without even having to trek to your local natural foods store.
Try one of these tasty options:
I don’t recommend eating a plateful of sauerkraut to start with, though. If you haven’t been eating fermented foods, going overboard could cause you some gastrointestinal distress. Start with small amounts as a side to your meal and work your way up. Optimally, you would consume fermented foods with every meal.
So that’s it! Just 4 simple things you can do to improve your gut health:
- Eliminate toxins.
- Allow your body to rest.
- Take a quality probiotic.
- Increase your intake of fermented foods.