I must admit, as an Integrative Nutrition Coach, two things that I am a smidge obsessed with are digestive health and immunity health. The greatest part is that they totally go hand in hand. The reason is that 70% of our immune system is found IN our digestive system. In turn, if you want a stronger immune system, (and really, who doesn’t?) the key can be found in your gut.
Digestive health is something I am super passionate about working on with my nutrition clients. It affects the way we feel physically – think bloating, gas, indigestion, constipation, diarrhea; it affects the way we are feeling emotionally – anxiety, depression, and mental health are all connected to our gut health; it affects our energy levels – always feeling tired, sluggish, low energy or just not in the mood for life. If these are issues that you are dealing with, I am hosting a Virtual Digestive Health Workshop and would love for you to join.
When the microbiome in our gut is balanced with good bacteria, it boosts immunity, prevents disease, and supports emotional well-being. There is such a strong connection between our digestive health and our brain, including overall emotional and mental health. In this week’s blog, I wanted to give you my five best actionable tips to get your digestive system on track, and help you on your way to a healthier life!
- Take a good quality probiotic. This will provide good bacteria to your tummy setting you up for success. Taken first thing in the morning with water on an empty stomach is what I would suggest. Probiotics can be taken by babies, kids, adults, and seniors and I would encourage probiotics to be taken at all ages and stages of life. My favorite? Pearls Acidophilus by Nature’s Way.
- Increase your intake of probiotic and prebiotic foods. I am a huge fan of the concept of ‘crowding out’ when it comes to our nutrition. By this I mean not thinking of all the things that you CAN’T have, but rather all the amazing foods you can add-in. In turn, the good food fills your plate and your day and there is no room left for the not-so-good stuff. You crowd it out! For probiotics, think kimchi, yogurt, quinoa, kombucha, and artichokes…lots of that ‘pickled’ kinda vibe foods. When it comes to prebiotics, we’re loading up on fiber, fruit, and veggies. Some of the best are onions, garlic, bananas, and blueberries.
- Take Digestive Enzymes. In the beginning, you will want to take one of these before every meal, but once your digestive enzymes are all caught up and working for you, you’ll only need them once in a while. Before a heavy meal or before you eat something you usually don’t – like a dinner out or something off the beaten path of what you usually eat.
- Drink up the Apple Cider Vinegar – this is one of my favorite items to really help with your digestive system. While it is definitely a flavour to get used to, diluted raw organic apple cider vinegar will have your tummy and your immune system happy as a clam. A little goes a long way, so about an ounce diluted in water first thing in the morning will really help you out.
- Increase your intake of foods with Glutamine. These foods include beets (which by the way, are pretty much the Earth’s gift to humans in my books!), spinach, cabbage, and parsley.
You may notice I didn’t talk about what to REMOVE from your nutrition plate to help with your digestive system. There are a few obvious ones such as sugar, refined carbohydrates, and soda. But there might be quite a few other foods that you may need to remove to improve your digestion. We are all bio-individuals, meaning what works for me might not work for you. For example, eating Greek yogurt might be great for my digestive system, but wreak havoc on yours. With so much in nutrition, we have to do what works and feels best to us as individuals.
Remember, if you want to learn more about getting your digestive system on your side with the help of food, join me at my upcoming virtual Digestive Health Workshop!