Gut health, or lack thereof, has been linked to Alzheimer’s, autism, anxiety, depression, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other diseases. Unfortunately, gut health declines with age. In an article for Johns Hopkins Medicine, gastroenterologist Gerard Mullin, M.D. states, “As we age, the natural cycles slow down and don’t work as well.” The good news is small shifts in diet and lifestyle can help keep the gut and the whole body healthy.
Probiotics are certain strains of good bacteria that support a healthy digestive system by helping break down food in the digestive track and keeping harmful bacteria at bay. Most people think of yogurt when they think of probiotics, but according to WebMD there are many other foods that contain potent probiotics. Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, pickles, tempeh, and kefir are great options as well.
Prebiotics are a crucial and often overlooked part of the gut health equation. Prebiotics are the foods that probiotics need to thrive. According to an article for Healthline, foods like bananas, oatmeal, red wine, legumes, garlic, and onions are all good sources of prebiotics.
According to Dian Griesel, author of TurboCharged: The SilverDisobedience Edition, the popular idea of eating balanced meals may look good on paper, but in the real world, combined meals —particularly protein/fat foods eaten in combination with starchy carbohydrates—put too much stress on our digestive systems, more often causing indigestion, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD ) or acid reflux. In her book you will learn why you should opt for meals that are either mono-meals (100% protein, 100% fruits or vegetables, or a combination of fruits and vegetables) or a 90/10 combo meal to improve your digestive health.
The link between the gut and the brain is well established. In an article by Johns Hopkins Medicine, the digestive system is described as being able to impact “big emotional shifts,” either helping or harming emotional states. Simply put, controlling stress can help control gut issues and vice versa. “Activity is a natural stress reliever. It’s also good for overall health and maintenance of a sleek and youthful body,” says Griesel. “Notice I use the word ‘activity’ because I don’t want you to mistake it for exercise which intimidates many people.” In her book, Griesel recommends moving your body throughout the day whether it be gardening, swimming, mopping the floors, or chasing your kids or grandkids on the playground. “If you find yourself sitting for more than an hour, make sure you get up do some activity! Even if it is just for 3-5 minutes, you will feel better, and it will be a nice stress reliever.” says Griesel.
Research has proven that exercise helps develop more good bacteria in the gut, which helps break down food and aids in proper nutrient absorption. “There are so many studies about the benefits of exercise but oftentimes people assume exercise is spending 60-90 minutes at the gym. My exercise of choice, and what I encourage my readers to do, is walk. The benefits are plentiful, so much that I dedicated an entire chapter in my book to walking!” says Griesel. Exercise and a strong microbiome in the gut help maintain healthy weight as well. If you aren’t already exercising to take care of your heart, weight, immune system, and mental health, consider doing it for your gut!
The gut and digestive health is linked to nearly every system in the body. Make these simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments to keep your digestive system healthy and your whole body happy!
© 2022 Silver Disobedience Inc.