It’s important to keep our gut health a top priority as we begin to head back to our routines and create new wellness goals to protect ourselves. The gut wall is home to 70% of our immune cells as well as trillions of good and bad bacteria that make up the gut microbiome. How effectively we fight off outside threats depends on the diversity of the intestinal flora in our gut. A healthy microbiome is a balanced microbiome. Too many bad or opportunistic microbes and you’re at an increased risk of inflammation and disease. Healthy gut bacteria, on the other hand, protect you from disease, keep inflammation low, and even promote your mental health. So how do we begin to build ourselves back up and get our gut health into fighting shape?
Get stress in check
Mr. “Always-On” is still ever present in this new normal of juggling work, homeschool, cooking and cleaning with little to no support. Feeling like we have to do it all can lead to poor sleep and inflammation, which leaves us feeling sluggish, exhausted and susceptible to sickness. Use this extra time at home to create a simple routine around connecting with family and limiting your time online.
Move your body
Physical activity leads to higher levels of a good microbe that stimulates production of more mucous in the gut lining, which strengthens the gut barrier against outside threats and helps control inflammation. Exercise also boosts serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter that is mainly produced in the gut. Seratonin helps regulate mood, sleep, appetite, digestion, learning ability and memory.
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Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated
You need to properly fuel and hydrate your body so it can be prepared to fight off viruses and support the immune system. Drop the fast and processed foods and replenish your gut’s good bacteria with foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics (ex. garlic, bananas, asparagus, yogurt, kimchee). As summer approaches, it’s important to remember that by the time you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated.
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