Many nutritionists refer to our gut as the "second brain", as more research emerges showing that our gut can affect our moods, our hormones, and many other important body functions.
I struggled with digestive problems my entire childhood/teenage years. I had terrible acid reflux which led me to taking antacids daily (these are so bad for you!!) and I was always bloated and uncomfortable after many of my meals.
While there's SO much that goes into your gut health, I have a few tried-and-true things I do every single day that help keep my gut clean. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but doing these simple things each day have made a massive impact on keeping my gut clean, and amazingly enough- I haven't had heartburn symptoms in years!
1. Drink Lemon Water in the AM
Every night, I fill up a big glass of water (at least 20-30 oz.) and squeeze the juice of an organic lemon wedge in there. Then, I drop the lemon in the water. When I wake up, the first thing I do is drink that big glass of lemony water. This is amazing for your body in so many ways, including hydration, detoxification, and giving you energy (which prevents overeating and turning to sugary foods for energy). The temperature of the water doesn't matter, but I've found that if it's too cold or too hot, it's harder to get down so I opt for room temperature. The lemon makes it taste great too, which is a huge plus if you're not used to drinking that much water in the morning! At first, you will feel like you are practically drowning yourself, but I promise if you stick with it, you'll eventually look forward to your hydration session in the morning.
2. Alkalize Your Body
This could be a blog post in and of itself, but I'll keep it simple. By consuming more alkaline foods (aka- balancing my pH), I noticed a huge difference in my gut health, acid reflux and a decrease in stomach discomfort throughout the day. While the lemon water assists with alkalizing, I always make sure I incorporate as many alkaline foods/drinks as possible. Some of my favorites are:
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Aloe Vera Juice
Lots of Green Veggies!
Greens Supplement- I really like the green juice from Organifi. It's 100% organic and has 11 superfoods + coconut water crystals to help with the nutrient absorption. I take this every morning. It's not cheap, and that's because the ingredients in it aren't cheap either ;) Try it yourself and use code HOLISTICINHOUSTON to get 15% off.
This is a new item I've incorporated into my diet-and I'm loving it! Collagen helps your gut health by repairing the lining of your stomach and the small/large intestines. Collagen has been known to improve your body's ability to digest food, and helps reduce inflammation. I sometimes take a collagen supplement, or drink bone broth to get a healthy dose of collagen and other immune-boosting ingredients. Bonus- collagen helps your hair, skin and nails stay healthy, and fights signs of aging! It's also a good source of protein- my collagen supplement has 9 grams of protein in one serving.
If you continue to read my blog, I'm going to sound like a broken record... invest in a good quality probiotic! I take Life9 from Young Living because it has 9 strands of beneficial bacteria for your gut health. There's lots of great probiotics out there, but do your research and, like most things, you get what you pay for!
Another way to get some good bacteria in your gut is through yogurt from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows with little or no added sugar. I like Siggi's yogurt because it's high in protein and low in sugar, and it makes a great breakfast paired with homemade granola. Coconut yogurt works just as great if you are sensitive to lactose.
There's numerous studies proving that walking aids in digestion. According to the New York Times, walking for 15 minutes after a meal aids in digestion and helps control blood sugar levels.
Our bodies are designed for walking as our main form of getting around- but with modern technology, we hardly ever have to do that! Incorporating a 15-minute walk into your morning and evening routine is a simple and realistic way to ensure your gut health improves. I like to take my dog on a 15 minute walk in the morning right after I drink my lemon water, and we take a long 30-45 minute walk after dinner. Good for the body and mind!
What are you doing to keep your gut happy? Let me know in the comments and as always, reach out to me if you have any questions!