Gut Health – Daily Steps to Protect Your Brain, Balance Hormones and Eliminate Toxins

Do you suffer from poor sleep quality, bloating, constipation, fatigue, poor mental focus, painful or irregular periods, hot flashes, joint pain, gas, reflux…? These are signs that your digestive system needs some love. All disease begins in the gut. What's more, did you know that the health of your gut affects the function of your brain and vice versa? For example, serotonin and melatonin is made in both the gut and the brain, so your feelings of anxiety, irritability or loneliness may be partially due to an imbalance of bacteria in your gut, which may be aggravated by the inflammatory foods you are eating. Also, did you know that 80% of your cholesterol is made in your liver? So, if you have high cholesterol, it may be time to start cleansing your liver to get the bad cholesterol out of your bloodstream. There are simple things you can do at home to start turning things around. Remember, every day is a new day to hit the reset button.

What can I do to heal my gut and cleanse my liver?

You don’t need to go out and buy a fancy liver cleanse product or have your doctor put you on medication. There are simple natural things you can do to get rid of the bad bacteria, toxins and infections that may be causing your symptoms while adding in nutrients and good bacteria to support the functioning of your digestive and elimination systems.

First, start by eating more fruits and vegetables vary the types from day to day. Yea you have heard this before but don’t skip this section. It’s called “Crowding Out”. When you are planning your meals, think about filling up your plate with fruits and veggies first, followed by protein and/or fat.

Fruits and veggies act like a scrub brush and power wash to your system and help flush out the bad sludge that has accumulated in your liver, kidneys and intestines. As you clean out the gunk, you are removing the toxins and buildup that have accumulated in your body and are holding your toxic emotions too. Literally, you will feel lighter physically and mentally from the release. This is not a one-week process. You have years to build-up in your body, so it will take time and you have to be patient. Fruits and vegetables also act as prebiotic fiber and will feed the good bacteria in your gut so that you system can break down the constant flow of toxins from our environment and our food.

Second, eliminate white refined and added sugar from your diet. This includes soda, sweetened lemonade, iced tea and other sugary drinks, cookies, cakes, pies, yogurt, granola bars, candy, etc. Even ketchup and BBQ sauce is loaded with sugar. Read the labels. Every 4 g of sugar equals 1 teaspoon of sugar. So that yogurt that you are eating that has 24 g of sugar means there are 6 teaspoons of sugar inside! Your bottle of Sprite has 64 g of sugar or 16 ts!! Even “healthy” granola bars have added sugars.

Third, start eliminating processed foods like chips, crackers, cookies, cereals, granola bars, basically any convenience foods in a box, bag, can or jar. Ok, easier said than done, right? You may need to take baby steps. If so, start by finding substitutions for your favorite processed foods. For example, do you love salty snack foods? Try nuts or have an apple instead. Love cereal in the morning? Try non-GMO corn, gluten-free or rice-based cereals. Once you have eliminated most processed foods from your diet and are eating whole foods, including mostly fruits and vegetables, you will notice some significant changes in your body and your mood.

What about supplements?

Supplements are individual, but there are some that can be used by most people to help achieve better digestion. A couple of examples are probiotics and digestive enzymes. Probiotics will add good bacteria to your gut. Keep in mind however that if you are not eliminating the bad bacteria in your intestinal tract (think weeds in your garden) by eliminating inflammatory foods, then adding good bacteria in the form of probiotics will only do so much on their own. Digestive enzymes are also helpful in aiding the digestion of proteins and fats that are hard to break down. You may not have enough digestive enzymes being produced naturally in your pancreas or small intestine due to low-grade inflammation, low stomach acid or stress. This can cause your food to putrefy in your system (ew!) and prevent the absorption of the nutrients in your food. Taking digestive enzymes with your meals can help break down the proteins in your food so that you are getting the nutrition that your body wants.

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