Real Talk: Gut Health

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Before recent research raised awareness about the importance of gut health, most people wouldn’t think twice about it. Signs of an unhealthy gut can sometimes be easy to miss; however, it is extremely important to take a step back and assess any possible symptoms because your gut can impact everything from your weight to what kind of mood you are in.

Believe it or not, your everyday stressors, physical activity and the food and drinks you consume all have an impact on your gut health. Gut health proves to be a very important function of the body that needs to be better recognized.

VALLEY is here to breakdown some easy lifestyle changes and general ways that you can take care of your stomach, build healthy gut microbiota and take better care of your body.

Probiotics
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First, speak with your doctor and find a good probiotic! Probiotics are live microorganisms and good bacteria that help fight the bad bacteria in multiple areas of the body, especially the bacteria that enters into your stomach lining in your body. Probiotics promote healthy and efficient digestion, making them a great idea to take in order to balance out the bacteria in the gut. They are also good to take in place of antibiotics to prevent an upset stomach and sickness.

Wellness Shots

Now, onto a heavily used practice: wellness shots. Many times, people take wellness shots thinking they can clean out their gut, fix their metabolism and get their nutrients in for the day. But, that isn’t really the case. Wellness shots are concentrated and cold-pressed juices of fruits and other nutrients. But overall, wellness shots shouldn’t be used to make up for or replace the nutrients and health benefits you should be getting from your day-to-day diet.

Though you can get an extra dose of vitamins and antioxidants, it’s most beneficial to take these wellness shots if you’ve been lacking in these benefits from your diet. However, if you already get them in your diet, having extra doses won’t have any major benefits. VALLEY recommends to take them once in a while to supplement your usual diet, but don’t depend on them.

A Balanced Diet
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On that note, let’s talk about diet. When it comes to eating, nutritionists agree that it is best to eat multiple times a day in small increments. By doing this, you are constantly fueling your body, giving it energy and preventing heavy cravings. Your “diet” should be balanced rather than going on a diet. Dieting is often not necessary unless you speak to a doctor and there are a specific reason and recommendation.

Going on a diet without the proper recommendations and research can lead to you cutting out the essential nutrients your body needs without finding alternate sources. Going on a diet for a short time span instead of it being a permanent lifestyle change can often throw off your metabolism as well.

During dieting, the body can go into starvation mode where it finds other fuel sources and becomes dependent on those sources. This changes metabolism and when people stop their diet, they go back to what they were depriving themselves of before, but their metabolism is thrown off and can’t handle the new intake of food sources.

Websites like MyPlate or speaking with your doctor can help you come up with a goal where you balance out your proteins, vegetables, fruits, dairy and grains. In addition, do not be afraid of carbohydrates. Your body is dependent on them, so they shouldn’t be completely cut out of your diet. By eating a balanced diet, you can get in all of the nutrients and vitamins your body needs to stay healthy and run properly. Drinking lots of water is also important to maintain bodily functions and stay hydrated.

Keeping In Touch With Your Mind and Body
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Gut health is not just determined by what food you are eating, but also by your physical and mental health. What you think has a heavy impact on how your stomach reacts and feels. Without you even knowing or trying, when you’re stressed your body releases certain hormones and chemicals, and when they enter your digestive system, your stomach reacts in an abnormal way due to the imbalance. You’ll experience bloating, cramping, loss of appetite and often you’ll feel sick.

Letting stress build-up puts a strain on your body. You can combat this by taking a break and doing something you enjoy like reading a book, taking a bath, going for a walk or watching TV. Anything that you enjoy will help to release healthy endorphins and maintain stability in your gut by reducing stress.

Better yet, get sleep and exercise. When you sleep, your body has time to digest and the stomach has time to empty. When you don’t sleep enough, your appetite increases because there’s a greater release of the hormone ghrelin, due to a lack of leptin, which functions to provide a feeling of satiety. As a result, your body remains hungry since it hasn’t obtained all of the nutrients and energy from your food — since it hasn’t fully digested.

Getting exercise is great for gut health and digestion. When you exercise, your blood gets pumping and when it rushes to your organs, specifically your stomach. This then causes a greater amount of contractions, and the food will move through your body faster and improve your digestion. 

Gut health is so important. Take care of your mind, get some exercise and eat a balanced diet to improve gut health and keep your body healthy. What you put in your mouth is important. When you take care of your stomach, you are taking care of your whole body!

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