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Why Gut Health is Important
What is gut health and why is it important? I had heard the terms leaky gut, gut dysfunction, gut repair, and other gut issues mentioned often for the last couple of years.
First of all, I hadn’t been feeling well. I wasn’t really sick and I couldn’t pinpoint any real ache or pain, but I knew that I didn’t feel well.
I noticed it, but we had been doing a whole lot of extra work, so I didn’t think much of it.
Then, the topic of digestive health was mentioned in an essential oils class I was taking.
And, for some reason, I got to thinking about these two things together. You see, while we were super busy for about 2 months straight (doing a lot of extra work, inside and outside, to our house) we had been eating a lot of fast food.
You’d think I would have simply known that we were doing that, but in reality, in the same week that I realized that I didn’t feel well, and I listened to that essential oil class, I updated our budget for the last month. That’s actually how I found out that we’d spent about 60% more on fast food than in a typical month.
And, there was one more thing that got me thinking about all of these things. My husband said to me, just out of the blue, that he hadn’t been feeling well for several weeks. I hadn’t mentioned to him that I didn’t feel well either.
Well, I may be slow to connect the dots sometimes, but this time all of these things caught my attention, and I knew that I needed to try to find an answer.
In order to be certain that I was looking in the right direction, I began doing some research on gut health.
I found some excellent books like these on the subject, plus I started doing some online research.
What is Gut Health?
Through my research I discovered that gut health isn’t just about our digestive health. Although I had never thought about this before. After all, all of our body’s different parts, systems and functions are interconnected. It makes sense that our health can be affected by the organisms and bacteria living within our gut.
Since I was a beginner on this topic, one of the books I found that was extremely helpful to me was a children’s book. This great basic book was perfect for me at this early stage in my research.
The first place for me to start was with the symptoms. After all, if our symptoms didn’t match up with the unhealthy gut symptoms, then I would know that I needed to look elsewhere. This is what I found:
- Gas or Bloating
- Indigestion or Heartburn after meals
- Irregular bowel movement (diarrhea or constipation)
- Food allergies or sensitivities
- Frequent Colds
Well, it turns out that 3 of the 5 symptoms were an issue for us. It certainly was possible that there were other health issues that we could look at, but addressing our poor eating habits would be a great first start in our wellness journey.
Even though I didn’t want to make a huge diet overhaul or start some crazy kind of diet that I couldn’t maintain for more than 30 days, I found that were things that we could do to improve my gut health.
4 Ways to Restore Gut Health
The good news is that we can positively affect our gut health through our diet, exercise, sleep and the management of stress in our lives. adjustment.
For me, simply knowing that I was in control of my gut health and recognizing the importance of my gut health was enough to get me started on the path to improving my gut health.
Because what we eat so greatly impacts our gut health, we decided that the first steps to take to improve gut health was with our diet.
As with any dietary lifestyle change there are foods to avoid and there are foods that we should be eating more of.
In this post I share the 9 Foods to Avoid or Reduce to Restore Gut Health. We began removing some of these foods, or at least reducing how much of them we ate, immediately.
Fortunately, there are also many foods that have been found to help improve our gut health. So, it wasn’t just a Don’t Eat this list, there were also some foods that we should eat.
In all honesty, there wasn’t a single food on that list that we ate regularly. So, adding these to our daily menu has been quite a challenge. We are still working on it, but we’ve found a few that we like.
No one said that improving our gut health was going to be easy. But, we were confident that the changes would be worth the effort.
Probiotics are also helpful to our gut health
About 2 years ago, I was sick with a virus and my Doctor prescribed an antibiotic. She also told me to purchase a probiotic and take it while I was taking the antibiotic. Interestingly, my husband was also sick with the same virus and his Doctor prescribed an antibiotic and also told him to take a probiotic. These 2 Doctors were not even in the same practice, yet they both gave the same advice.
Never before and never since has any of our Doctors told us to do that. However, it made me curious and of course I went home and did some research. It turns out that it is always a good idea to take a probiotic whenever you are taking an antibiotic. Why? Because antibiotics don’t just kill bad bacteria, they kill the good ones too.
It turns out that it can take up to 6 months for your body to build back enough good bacteria to replace that ones that were killed by the antibiotic. That helps me to understand why oftentimes people get sick, then better, then sick again. Their good bacteria haven’t had a chance to replenish yet.
There are several foods that are probiotic rich and they are great for building good bacteria. Many people also take probiotic supplements. Be sure to do a little research when looking for a probiotic supplement.
How to Get More Sleep
There are times in our lives that it is so difficult to get a good night’s sleep. I wrote about getting a Good Night’s Sleep over a year ago because I have struggled with this so often. That was even before I knew that it was an important piece to having good gut health.
Check out the Good Night’s Sleep post and try a few of those tips to see if one will help you get some more sleep.
Good Gut Health Strengthens Your Immune System
In addition to all that has been mentioned already, our gut health has a direct effect on our immune system.
The ratio between the good bacteria and the other bacteria is important to our overall health.
It makes sense that good gut health will reduce the effects of some illnesses and will aid in the prevention of some diseases.
Do you need to make some changes to improve your gut health?
If so, I hope this post has encouraged you to make a few changes today. I know you’ll be glad you did.