Many of my clients come in miserable with all sorts of digestive symptoms and pains. Nevertheless, their main focus is still on losing weight. When you focus on the health of your gut, however, you can reduce the overall pain and symptom causing inflammation in your body and drastically improve your overall health.
The digestive system is the most fascinating system in the body (I’m biased as I’ve been studying it my entire life). Everything you eat or drink impacts every organ, tissue and cell in your body. With my clients, I’ve witnessed food positively impact everything from arthritis to irritable bowel syndrome.
Here are five ways to begin to improve your gut health. Remember, be patient because you may not see instant measurable results on the weight scale, but you should experience more energy, better fitting clothes, and overall improved health.
Ways to improve your health through nutrition.
Reduce or eliminate all the refined sugar and refined flour you eat. This can be difficult because they’re in everything! Refined sugar and flour feed the ‘bad’ bacteria in your digestive system. It’s important that you remove them from your diet. The bonus of this is that as you eat less of these foods, your palate actually changes, and you can enjoy the taste of fresh whole food more. Your taste buds can’t compete with the hyper sweet taste of these foods. Don’t believe me, take a drink of soda or super sweet yogurt and then take a bite of apple or broccoli. Chances are you won’t like the taste of the fresh whole fruit. Once you’ve stopped feeding the “bad” bacteria, focus on boosting the ‘healthy’ bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement or preferably eating prebiotic and probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, kombucha, kimchi and fermented vegetables. The trick here is that these foods must come from the refrigerated section of your health food store. The next step is to eat more detoxifying vegetables. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, brussels sprouts, kale ... all the vegetables you have to make your kids eat. This helps move the toxins out of the body in a natural way. As you start to bring healing through the digestive system to the entire body, it’s water that helps cleanse and improve the function of every system. The current recommendation is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, you weigh 140 pounds, you will need to drink a minimum of 70 ounces of filtered water per day.Finally, do your best to eat most of your meals at home. Cooking at home using whole food ingredients is making a comeback. There is nothing more powerful that you can do for your heath than to cook at home. Microwaves and packages don’t count. I understand it’s not the most convenient, but when you eat most of your food at home, you have more control over what you are putting in your body. For total body healing, this is powerful. Whatever eating plan you use this year to get to your health goals, incorporating these five steps will bring about more energy, better immunity and improved overall health.
Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition, which has offices in Durango and Bayfield and offers virtual-coaching options. She can be reached at 444-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.