Gut health seems to be a hot topic lately…and with good reason! Your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi – and collectively they are known as the microbiome. The ones found in your gut not only help you digest foods, but they also work all over your body and can be useful for your physical and mental health.
The good news is that you don’t have to make big changes to improve the health of your gut! There are so many simple changes you can make, that can have a significant impact. Here are 10 simple swaps you can make to start improving yours (from The Natural Switch):
- Switch from tap water to filtered water. We all know that hydration is critical…but the quality of your water maters, too. Tap water frequently contains chlorine (a disinfectant designed to destroy bacteria) – the same bacteria we need to keep for a healthy gut ecosystem. Tap water may also contain heavy metals, pesticides and medication residue. These all have the potential to accumulate in your system over time, and need to get filtered out by our kidneys and liver. A simple way to clean up your water is to invest in a filter!
- Swap out dairy for plant-based milks. Did you know that up to 70% of people are intolerant of dairy?! That’s because, as an adult, we are no longer producing the lactase needed to digest lactose. Try switching to almond, soy, oat or coconut milk to see what a difference it makes. If you are concerned about getting the appropriate amount of calcium in your diet, try adding in tahini, leafy greens, almond butter, corn tortillas, sardines and tofu.
- Look at root cause instead of focusing on symptoms. The way to true long-term healing is to identify and investigate the factors causing your issue – focus on the underlying cause and treat your whole person.
- Swap out toxic chemicals in your home. Our skin is our largest organ, exposing us to every toxin from the cleaning and skin care products we use. Eventually, the toxins end up in our bloodstream, our liver and our gut, affecting our microbiome, hormones and overall health. It is estimated that we expose ourselves to 168 chemicals each morning, just getting ready for the day!
- Choose quality sweets. It’s not necessary to go without sweets completely! Just make sure that you choose the best quality version you can. Instead of your average candy bar, choose a small piece of dark organic chocolate. You can make a chocolate brownie with whole food nourishing ingredients, instead of the typical recipe made from wheat flour and canola oil.
- Swap grains for vegetables. Think of food as nourishment for your mind and body, not just fuel! Find a way to replace pasta, toast, and rice with vegetables (zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice, salads, avocado, etc.).
- Choose a green smoothie instead of a fruit one. A typical fruit smoothie can contain as much sugar as a can of soda! Green smoothies contain foods like spinach, avocado, nuts, banana, etc. Just remember to lightly cook or scald leafy greens before adding them to your smoothie; your thyroid gland will thank you!
- Choose porridge instead of cereal. Gluten-free cereals can contain as many sugars, additives, and preservatives as conventionally processed cereals. Switch to porridge instead. Top it off with healthy options such as seeds, nuts, shredded coconut, berries, chia seeds and hemp hearts.
- Choose to slow down instead of rushing around. When we are under constant stress, our ‘fight or flight’ system gets triggered, raising our heart rate and releasing stress hormones. In turn, this diverts blood and Qi away from our digestive tract to the muscles. By slowing down and being more mindful, we support the rest and repair functions of our bodies.
- Swap harsh medicines for natural remedies. One example is acid reflux medication. Did you know that more than 15,000 lawsuits are being filed against those manufacturers?! There are so many natural options, without the harsh side effects! We have solutions in our clinic that have helped many patients over the years.
Which of these tips will you try? We recommend picking one or two to start with, and note how you feel after making that change for a few days. If you have a health issue or goal that you would like help with or are wondering what a natural solution might look like for you, feel free to contact us. Our purpose is to promote health and wellbeing with natural collaborative health care.
Susannah, Lorrie & Susan