Take care of your gut and improve your mental health!
Interestingly, this post received many more answers and comments than other posts. It made me think; thus, I want to explore this question further in this week’s blog. You will find some valuable tips on how to stay sharp and pain-free when growing older (we are all going to get there, so better read on)
So, let me ask YOU first: “What is YOUR biggest fear when it comes to health?”
Please comment below and let me know BEFORE reading on.
I am curious what you will reply. When I asked this question online, a lot replied that they fear age, not being mentally fit, Alzheimer/dementia and having pain, and not being able to live a “normal” life.
I understand that so well as, like everybody else, these are my fears too. But having studied the science of nutrition, including mental health, intensively. I also learned that many age-related conditions could be prevented, reversed, or diminished with the right food and lifestyle choices. This goes hand in hand with a balanced spiritual and emotional approach.
The biggest contributing factors to mental and physical dis-ease are:
- Gut health
When these are out of whack, it can lead to chronic diseases like
- Mental diseases (Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Depression, etc.)
- Digestive disorders
- And so many more
The good news is that you can control and improve most of this, including your genes, as with the right environmental choices, even so-called genetic pre-depositions can be altered.
I always say genes load the gun, and the environment (food, lifestyle, pollution, etc.) pulls the trigger.
Understanding this is crucial and knowing that we all are different, a personalized approach to improving your health through better eating and lifestyle choices can help address the root causes of inflammation and gut issues.
Improve Gut Health
How can we take care of our gut and improve our mental health!?
Maybe you have heard that there is a gut-brain axis and a healthy gut helps to improve your brain functioning, genetic expression, and inflammation. I love starting here and improving gut health. Did you know most serotonin is fabricated in the gut, and 70% of your immune system is “sitting” in the gut too? Fascinating!
Now with this knowledge, let’s get into action…
Here are my top tips to improve your gut health, thus reducing inflammation, improving mental health, and aging happily.
How To Repair/optimize The Gut-brain Axis
Rest, Relax, and Sleep
Proper rest, relaxation, and sleep are vital for the functioning of all organ systems, especially the brain and gut.
Have you ever noticed that your memory is foggy, your cognitive function is decreased, and your bowel movements are either too frequent or not frequent enough after a long night of tossing and turning? This perfectly illustrates how sleep, or a lack thereof, can negatively impact the brain and gut functioning. In fact, after just one night of suboptimal sleep, there is already a marked increase in the amount of pro-inflammatory complexes in the blood.
Inflammation is not a good thing when it comes to the gut or the brain.
Eat a Whole Foods Diet
Steer clear of nutrient-poor, processed, and packaged “faux foods.” These may supply you with enough energy in the form of calories, but they do very little to meet your daily nutrient requirements. Dark green leafy vegetables, high-quality animal protein, and healthy fats nourish the brain and digestive system. Remember, when it comes to food, quality is key!
Eliminate Food Sensitivities and Intolerances
An Elimination Diet is useful for identifying potential food sensitivities and intolerances. Chronic consumption of these irritants can lead to increased inflammation and leaky gut. But eliminating them from the diet will lead to improved cognitive capacity and better absorption of nutrients.
Practice Stress Reduction Techniques
It is vital to manage stress via stress reduction techniques to steer clear of the path of chronic stress and chronic inflammation. While it is impossible to avoid stress altogether, it is possible to shield the body from its negative effects. Deep breathing, meditation, mindfulness, yoga, and tai chi are all great coping mechanisms in the face of stress. Check out more stress tips here.
Increase Probiotic and Prebiotic Consumption
To increase the health and diversity of the microbiome, take a high-quality probiotic supplement (preferably refrigerated with a high CFU count) or eat more fermented foods which naturally contain beneficial bacteria.
Fermented foods include: sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha. Also, be sure to eat probiotic foods (in the form of fiber-rich vegetables) or supplements to ensure that the beneficial bacteria will have a food source once they reach the gut. Otherwise, they may starve and die off immediately.
Find a Healthy Balance of Exercise
While too much exercise can worsen the leaky gut, too little can cause chronic constipation. Each individual must find what works best, but an ideal fitness routine should include cardiovascular stimulation, balance, strength, flexibility, and coordination. Keep in mind that low-to-moderate intensity exercise tends to have a calming effect on the nervous system and increases mental sharpness and memory capacity. Create “fun” options for exercise as you co-create a digestive health protocol.
Now my second question is, what will you do today to improve your gut health and set the tone for your “young age”?
PS. oh, and did I mention that things like wrinkles, menopausal symptoms, low libido, low mood, PMS, headaches/migraines, fatigue, stress, and so much more may magically disappear when correctly addressing your gut health? What are you waiting for?
Want to learn more? Schedule a FREE COFFEE CHAT with Andrea!