Did you know that your digestive system, which includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine, is 30 feet long? Given its enormous size, you may not find it surprising that your gut does more than just digest food.
According to a March 2011 article published in the scientific journal, BMC Medicine, your gut supports many vital body functions. It communicates with the bacteria that help with digestion, supports immune health, sends messages to your brain, and regulates hormones responsible for metabolism and mood.
At Renew Total Body Wellness Center in Decatur, Illinois, Dr. Thomas Rohde and the rest of our team believe that health and wellness are dependent on your body being in biochemical balance. Your gut plays an essential role in maintaining that balance, which is why a healthy gut is so important. We want you to know what you can do to keep your gut healthy.
It’s no secret that what you eat affects your health. A diet filled with too much added sugar, salt, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates increases your risk of many chronic health issues, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. Not to mention the effect these types of foods may have on your weight.
These foods are also not good for your gut and may cause inflammation and digestive conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, or Crohn’s disease. There’s even evidence that alterations in gut health may lead to health conditions such as Type 1 diabetes, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and mental illness.
At Renew Total Body Wellness Center, our nutrition experts recommend healthy organic foods to keep your gut healthy. Your diet should include organic lean sources of protein, such as poultry and seafood, colorful vegetables, crunchy fruit, and healthy fats.
One of the key components to gut health is maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria. The good bacteria in your gut support digestion, make essential nutrients, and maintain immune health. Prebiotics and probiotics are essential for keeping the good bacteria in your gut happy and healthy.
Prebiotics refer to foods that feed the bacteria and include fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes, and bananas, as well as garlic. Probiotics are foods that supply your gut with additional bacteria to help maintain a healthy balance and include fermented foods like yogurt, kimchi, and miso.
In addition to food, the friendly bacteria in your gut that support good health also like exercise. According to a March 2017 article published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, exercise increases the number of friendly bacteria in your gut, enhances the diversity of the bacteria, and improves the production of your friendly bacteria.
At Renew Total Body Wellness Center, we specialize in fitness and can design an exercise program that suits your physical fitness level and health goals. Ideally, you should exercise one hour most days of the week for good gut health.
As noted, your gut is in direct communication with your brain. Stress can affect gut health and may be responsible for chronic gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS. Additionally, chronic stress may affect adrenal health, which is the gland that produces and secretes your stress hormone
Exercise is a great way to help manage stress. You can also improve your stress levels and your gut health with meditation, finding an activity that helps you feel more centered (reading, drawing, painting), or by simply taking a break.
For a healthy gut, you need to make sleep a priority. Not getting an adequate amount of sleep disrupts your circadian rhythm, which may affect your gut’s microbiome and cause gut inflammation.
We recommend you aim for a minimum of 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
Keeping your gut healthy keeps you well. To learn more about gut health, contact us by phone today.