Gut health is an increasingly popular topic. So many of us in the western world are experiencing less than optimal digestion and this is affecting many important functions within the body. Diet, lifestyle, stress, allergies, intolerances and many other factors all contribute to a complex digestive relationship. But did you know this relationship has a huge impact on your happiness? Yep, that’s right - your happiness can be directly affected by your digestive health.
You’ve probably heard the saying “trust your gut” as the gut is often referred to as the second brain. The gut-brain connection is quite a fascinating topic - did you know 90% of your serotonin (the happy ‘hormone’) is produced in the GUT? Bacteria balance in the gut can be upset by diet, lifestyle, and medications such as the oral contraceptive pill and antibiotics, and can ultimately affect the production of serotonin. Rebalancing the gut microbiome can assist in balancing hormones, and can have a profound effect on our mood.
Here’s 5 practical steps to a happy, healthy gut:
The body requires slightly more alkaline state for hormones to function properly. Considering which foods are acidifying or alkalizing can be a bit tricky - citrus fruits are often considered acid, but when ingested they break down and donate alkaline mineral salt compounds such as ascorbates and citrates. Foods we might consider to be mild and alkalising such as grains and milk can actually be acid-forming when consumed. This is not related to the overall pH of the foods themselves, but the residues left behind by digested nutrients like phosphates and sulfates. As a general rule, plants are best!
Increase antioxidant intake
These bad boys pack a punch by lowering oxidation levels and reducing inflammation-perfect for conditions such as endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroids. Incorporating a variety of seasonal produce can provide you with a boost of quality antioxidants. These include tomatoes, berries, peaches, kale, plums, capsicum, corn, and spinach.
Look for organic
Let’s be honest it can be a stretch to go 100% organic, so investigate the ‘dirty dozen’ versus the ‘clean fifteen’ and make the switch on the foods that will make the most difference for you and your loved ones.
Enjoy some fermented foods
These beauties improve digestive health by improving the gut microbiome. PLEASE NOTE that taking too much of one type can throw out a health balance of the good stuff. Remember, variety is the key.
Find your happy DAILY!
Whether it’s a yoga class, a walk on the beach, sipping tea at your favourite café with a good book, or simply five minutes of down time, take the time to do something that is just for you. Loving yourself is a powerful tool for internal well-being. Sadly, this one is often overlooked, but can reap incredibly positive results for total health and wellbeing.
Of course, I always recommend talking to your Acupuncturist or health practitioner for personalised advice on how to create a healthy gut and a happy mind. I’d love to know, what do you include in your happiness health plan? Share your thoughts and leave a comment below :)
- Bonnie Bird