One of the easiest ways to balance your hormones naturally is to improve gut health. Your gut contains both good and bad bacteria. An overgrowth of bad bacteria in your gut can lead to many health issues. 60-80 % of the immune system is located in your gut. Today I will be discussing how to improve gut health with simple dietary changes.
What are signs of gut health issues?
- Bloating, gas, diarrhea and other digestive issues
- Sugar cravings
- Anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability
- Skin issues such as acne, allergies, eczema, roscea
- Autoimmune disease
- Insomnia, night sweats
- Poor memory
- Difficulty losing weight
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? Here are some dietary changes that will make a difference.
Remove Inflammatory foods
- Remove processed and refined foods
Processed foods contain large amounts of hidden sodium, unhealthy fats and sugar. When food is processed, many essential nutrients and fibers are lost. Avoid food from boxes and packages. Lean to cook and eat whole foods as much as possible.
- Eliminate sugar
Sugar causes many problems in your body. It has no nutritional value and adds empty calories to your diet. Large amounts of sugar can also cause insulin resistance. Bad bacteria in your mouth and gut increase and flourish from high sugar consumption. Be aware of hidden sources of sugar. Read labels. Sugar is often found in condiments such as BBQ sauce, salad dressings and ketchup. Frozen dinners are another unexpected source. Corn syrup,.anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane sugar, corn sweetener, fructose and cane juice are all names for sugar that you will commonly find on food and drink labels.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners
Artificial sweeteners decrease good bacteria levels in the gut. Studies show that they can cause glucose intolerance and actually contribute to weight gain.
- Limit caffeine consumption
High amounts of caffeine reduces the amount of stomach acid available for digestion. It can cause acid reflux and aggravate IBS and other bowel disorders.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is one of the easiest and best things you can do for your body. Dehydration slows down your digestive system and can result in constipation. Drink a glass a water first thing when you get up in the morning and at each meal. Carry water with you to sip throughout the day. You can check your hydration status by the color of your urine. You will have clear, yellow urine if you are well hydrated. Dark, concentrated urine is a sign that you need to drink more water.
Eat Fermented Foods
Probiotics are live beneficial gut bacteria that help promote a healthy digestive system . Taking probiotic supplements is an option, but can also be expensive. There are several natural probiotic foods that can be consumed daily.
Look for full fat, plain yogurt that contains live cultures. Avoid yogurt made with high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners. Non dairy yogurt made with rice, soy or almond milk can also be beneficial and easier to digest.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink that tastes similar to yogurt. In comparison, it usually contains at least 10 types of live bacteria and also contains yeast. Yogurt typically contains 3 types of live bacteria.
Sauerkraut is made from fermented cabbage. It naturally contains Lactobacillus bacteria.
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil has antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti fungal properties. It destroys harmful bacteria and yeast while restoring stomach acidity level.
- Bone broth
Bone broth is stock made from animal bones. It contains minerals that support the immune system. Collagen in the broth heals your stomach lining and decreases intestinal inflammation. Buy this commercially or make your own.
Easy Homemade Bone Broth Recipe
Kimchi is a Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables. It is sometimes referred to as Asian sauerkraut.
How to make kimchi
Simple dietary changes can make a major difference in improving gut health and immunity. Eat as clean as possible. Avoid unnatural, processed foods. Be aware of hidden sources of sugar. Drink lots of water. Eat probiotic/fermented foods daily. Limit caffeine intake.
Learning to cook your own food will go along way in making the recommended changes.
Try making these changes and let me know how it worked out for you in the comments below.