The expression “trust your gut,” may be something you hear every day, but is also grounded in science. Your gut, otherwise known as your intestines, is the source for a variety of ailments and conditions that may be keeping you from being your healthiest, happiest self. Learning to trust your gut can allow you to manage your gut health and improve most aspects of your physical and mental wellbeing.
The intestines are lined with bacteria, which may at first, sound like a terrible problem that requires an antibiotic. These bacteria, though, are essential for maintaining good health, proper digestion, and a well-functioning immune system. When your gut has more good bacteria than bad, your digestive system and immune systems both operate at optimal performance and ward off a variety of health conditions, including conditions as diverse as arthritis, joint and tissue ailments, and anxiety and depression.
Once you realize how important your gut is to your overall wellness, you can begin to take steps to optimize the good bacteria in your gut, decrease the bad bacteria, and start living a healthier life with a healthier gut.
- Watch your diet. A varied diet high in fiber, leafy greens, and fruit will add a variety of healthy bacteria to your gut. Vegetables and other foods that are high in fiber deliver the best good bacteria to your gut and include asparagus, chicory root, leeks, onions and garlic. Adding healthy fats to your diet like avocados and olive oil also boost good bacteria and help to limit bad bacteria. Eliminating foods that increase the bad bacteria in your gut, is at least as important, though. Dairy, gluten, alcohol, and sugar compromise good bacteria and breed bad bacteria.
- Exercise regularly. Early studies suggest that those that exercise regularly tend to have more varied intestinal bacteria and lower levels of bad bacteria. Not all exercise is created equally when it comes to optimal gut health, though. Adding High Intensity Interval Training to your workout regimen has been shown to reap additional benefits to your gut. FitClub has a HIIT class to get you started!
- Control your stress. There’s evidence to suggest that an unhealthy gut can also impact the way our brain responds to stress; i.e. nervous butterflies or diarrhea when you’re anxious. Elevated stress or chronic stress increases the body’s production of cortisol. Adding meditation and yoga to your lifestyle will help to reduce stress and manage your cortisol levels. Check out FitClub’s class schedule for meditation and yoga classes to get you started.
When you begin to protect your gut, you may be surprised at the array of health and wellness benefits you begin to see in your day to day life. If you’re worried about problems your gut may be causing, reach out to a medical provider and start taking advantage of the amenities FitClub offers to keep your gut health in check!