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Did you know the majority of your immune system is located in your gut? It’s true. While your immunity is a very complex system comprised of many internal processes, organs and functions, a great deal of your natural defense against illness, infection and disease has to do with your gut and digestive health. This is exciting news, because it is relatively easy to regulate what is going on in your gut.
Why You Need to Keep Your Gut Healthy
Hippocrates is known as the father of modern Western medicine. Way back in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, he stated that an unhealthy gut was the cause of all human disease. Simply put, he knew thousands of years ago what modern digestive health experts will tell you … keep your gut healthy and you will be healthy as well.
Think about the phrases “gut instinct” and “go with your gut feeling”. The idea with those terms is that your gut somehow acts as a second brain, telling you what you should and should not do in certain situations.
In the early 21st century health researchers are understanding that not only should the gut be considered a driver of behavior in addition to the brain you have in your head, but it is actually not secondary to your head-centered brain in many ways.
After all, your gut contains trillions of bacterial organisms which form what is called a microbiome. This is a complex community of bacteria which control digestive processes and help manage your overall metabolism.
Since the metabolic process is linked to how your entire body works, and many of these processes are influenced by your gut, you can see how important this second brain is to overall health and wellness.
Your microbiome is home to both good (beneficial) and bad bacteria. When your gut health is managed properly, you don’t do away with all the unhealthy bacteria in your microbiome. Some of it is still there, and always will be. When you achieve and maintain proper gut health, you so dramatically improve the amount of good bacteria in your system that it keeps the bad bacteria in check. The end result of good gut health is a balanced ecosystem, where the different bacterial populations exist in healthy ratios.
The problem is, due to negative environmental influences, the move toward a more sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits, most human beings have significantly damaged their gut health.
Simple Steps to Take to Restore Gut Health
Have you ever heard someone complain about not having enough time? A lot of people do this. In many cases, that is not an entirely factual statement. There is almost always more than enough time in the day to do the things you need to do, but sometimes people prioritize their activities and tasks incorrectly.
They spend a lot of time doing things they shouldn’t be doing, so this gives them a time crunch when it comes to what should be high-priority activities.
This is true of your gut health.
You may think you don’t have enough time to make your gut healthy, or for other health-boosting considerations. The good news is that repairing and restoring your gut and digestive system to a naturally healthy level does not take a lot of time.
You probably already eat, at least once or twice a day. All you have to do is change what you eat, not how much time you spend eating, and you can improve your gut health.
Eat more raw fruits and vegetables, whole foods, and unprocessed foods. Whole grains, nuts, berries and seeds should take the place of processed grains, sweets, baked goods and high levels of white flour, salt and refined sugar.
Drink water and herbal tea instead of sodas and processed drinks. These simple dietary changes can improve the health of your microbiome in no time.
Get up and Get Moving
Exercise is a proven mood and health promoter. If you consider exercise a dirty word, don’t think about in the traditional sense. All you have to do is stay active, on your feet and moving more than you are sitting and sedentary. This gets your digestive juices moving, your blood is pumping properly through your body, and your kidneys and liver are better enabled to promote a healthy gut.
Minimize Environmental Stressors and Pollutants
Breathing in the exhaust from automobiles can be just as negatively influential to your gut health as dealing with a cranky coworker on a daily basis. When you consciously avoid environmental and physical toxins and stressors, you make it easier for your gut to do its job properly.
This is because stress of any kind increases the presence of cortisol and other hormones which promote physical stress and inflammation, two conditions which are at the basis of most human disease and illness.
Gut Repair Action Steps
Avoid processed food as much as you can for just 14 days. Instead, eat a plant-based diet, where your food is as close to its natural state as possible, meaning it is minimally processed and cooked. Drink lots of water and herbal teas, and fewer sodas.
When you notice you have been sitting and sedentary for 30 or 45 minutes, get up and get moving, even if for just a few minutes. Consciously look for ways to put yourself in less stressful situations and limit your exposure to environmental toxins.
Do this for just 2 weeks, and you will see your mental and physical health profiles improve dramatically. This is because those easy to execute practices have been proven to improve the ratio of good to bad bacteria in your gut, which supports overall health.