Healthy Inside, Healthy Outside

Did you know…

- Our GI tract (gastrointestinal tract) does more than just digest food?
- Our gut health highly impacts how we think, feel, behave, perform, and our immunity?
- Our gut contains a second brain, also known as the enteric nervous system?
- Our gut helps us regulate our immune system?
- Our gut is a physical and chemical barrier against pathogens

A person might look good on the outside: healthy, happy, however on the inside, they are unhealthy. They might have poor nutrition habits and their GI (gastrointestinal tract) doesn’t function well. I relate this to our spiritual health as well. A person's body is alive, their heart is beating, however, the most important part of them is dead if they don’t know Jesus. They are spiritually dead because their sin separates them from God. We need good gut health to thrive. We also need Jesus to make us right with God and pay for our sins. 

About your GI Tract

- We have a colony of microorganisms living in our gut, don’t worry, they are our friends!
- The health of those bacteria impact how we think, feel, perform, and our immunity
- What we eat impacts the health of those bacteria, therefore what we eat impacts how we think, feel, perform, our immune health, etc
- Our gut is often considered as our second brain. It has its very own nervous system therefore the health of our gut has a connection with our brain, our thinking, emotions, etc
- Our gut is connected to our central nervous system, communicating what is going on including our emotional state
- Our gut health is the starting point of over 70% of our immunity. Here is a great article and infographic by precision nutrition on how to optimize your immunity. 
- Digestion starts in the BRAIN and is run by the autonomic nervous system
- The nose might have an important role in eating, 
- Good digestion starts in the mouth


About your microbiome

A healthy microbiome may help to:

- Prevent harmful bacteria and yeast from spreading in the guy
- Boost our immune system
- Prevent allergies
- Regulate inflammation
- Regulate our moods and nervous system via the gut-brain axis
- Regulate our hormonal responses
- Regulate our level of body fat
- Prevent IBD


With that being said, I encourage all of us to treat these bacteria and our gut as our friend. Let's be mindful about their well being, let’s take care of them and eat in a way that is going to help them and us to feel, function, and perform our best. 

For good gut health, we need the following: 

- Balanced bacteria
- Healthy gut lining

What may cause the gut to be distressed:

- Antibiotics
- Food intolerances
- Food allergies
- Food sensitivities
- Eating a diet of highly processed, nutrient-poor foods like refined sugars/carbs
- Growth of unhealthy bacteria

What we can do to improve our gut health

Nutrition is very personal so a food that might seem healthy in general, might not work for you depending on genetics, intolerances, sensitivities, allergies, and even preferences. As always, one of my biggest recommendations is finding what works best for you. Some people might have an intolerance to tomatoes, which we would normally think is good for us. So here are some tips to help you get in tune with your gut health! 

1. Be mindful of how you feel before and after you eat certain foods. Common foods that can give some people trouble that you might want to see how you feel when you don’t eat them versus when you do eat them. A method for testing this is to cut one of these things out one at a time for about two weeks and then reintroduce it to see how you feel, and eliminate those which seem to be problematic. 
    - Dairy
    - Wheat/gluten
    - Legumes
    - Sugar alcohols
    - Nuts/seeds
    - Alcohol
    - Lectins
    2. If you think you have an intolerance, get tested by a functional doctor, I don’t recommend self-diagnosing. 
    3. Eat a varied diet full of real food, less processed, whole foods, as close to their original form as possible. 
    4. Balance your healthy bacteria by eating some probiotic foods:
    - Kimchi
    - Sauerkraut
    5. Eat foods with fiber!
    - Potatoes
    - Vegetables and fruit
    - Whole grains
    - Beans 
    6. Get lots of nutrients through colorful vegetables and fruits
    7. Eat slowly, chew completely - healthy digestion starts with the enzymes produced by the salivary glands in our mouth
    8. Include foods with omega 3 is your diet as these help with inflammation:
    - Salmon
    - Flax seeds
    - Walnuts 
    9. Consider supplements wisely
      - Probiotics
      - Prebiotics
      - Digestive enzymes
      - MEGA


      I hope you found this blog helpful, that you had one takeaway to take action on!

      Additionally, there are a few articles to read more about gut health from Precision Nutrition


      Charissa is a Performance Coach, Certified Nutrition Coach, Certified Fitness Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer, and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology. She also holds an M.A. in Higher Education Administration. She is a follower of Jesus, passionate about faith, fitness, nutrition, a lifestyle of total health, meditating, learning and growing!

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