Winter takes a toll on our bodies due to the lack of sunlight, the severity of cold and flu season and the cold weather. March 20th was the official start of spring in 2018. With spring in mind, why not shake off some of cold with a boost to your brain and gut?
If you have any of the following symptoms, your body is telling you it’s run-down and needs a little boost!
- Abdominal pain
These symptoms may seem generic, but if you experience them on a daily basis – especially after heavy meals – your gut may be crying for help. An estimated 70 million Americans have some form of gut distress, which can impact your health in more than one way.
Your gut health is almost directly linked to your immunity, because most of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. When you have poor gut health, you will find yourself suffering from food allergies, frequent colds and illnesses and inflammation. If something is interfering with your digestive system, chances are your overall health will take a hit as well.
Your brain function and mood are also connected to your gut health. Most of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is located in your digestive tract. This is why you may get butterflies in your stomach when you’re nervous, eat more when you’re stressed and/or get emotional gratification out of overeating. The brain-gut connection also explains why depression, mental sluggishness, and trouble concentrating might indicate poor gut health.
If any of your organs are not working at peak performance, this puts stress on all of your other organs as they try to compensate for it. This contributes to the likelihood of you suffering from poor gut health.
Below are some additional factors that can stress and compromise your gut health.
- Insufficient good bacteria
Often the result of the overuse of antibiotics or a diet lacking in foods with probiotics and prebiotics, this can affect other body systems. Complications include a weakened immune system, allergies, IBS, blood-clotting problems, and brain fog.
- A diet high in FODMAPs
FODMAPs are sugars that your body cannot digest. FODMAP foods include beans and lentils, wheat, onions, dairy, and sugar alcohols. Consuming large amounts of FODMAPs contributes to the proliferation of bacteria in your gut.
- Excess gut bacteria
As opposed to an insufficient amount of gut bacteria, an excess interferes with the proper absorption of nutrients. It is often caused by a diet high in carbohydrates and can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, food sensitivities, and stress on the liver.
- Yeast, fungus or parasites in the digestive tract
Yeast and fungus can be contracted by various means, but the most commonly diagnosed, Candida albicans, is the result of a diet high in carbohydrates. Parasites often enter the body from the consumption of raw meat and fish, contaminated water or produce and even contact with animals. There are many different complications ranging from abdominal pain and diarrhea to neurological problems and death.
Gut health can also be adversely affected by pesticides, herbicides, food additives, artificial sweeteners, and processed foods.
There are so many things working against you that make it an uphill battle to maintain your health. This is one reason why doctors push “clean eating.”
Your gut can actually reset itself and return to homeostasis. Adding a simple, easy detox to your spring cleaning will help you rid your body of toxins and restore its natural balance.
When you decide to do a brain-gut boost, you should keep in mind these ten things in order to get the most healing and benefits of a cleanse.
- Get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Also make sure to rest so your body can heal.
- Start the day with warm water with lemon. This will help boost your metabolism. Celery juice is an alternative, as it is mostly water and contains antioxidants.
- Exercise gently. Go easy on yourself and don’t overdo it.
- Drink a lot of liquids. Give your water a boost by adding cucumber, or making an herbal tea. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. You may enjoy a cup or two of green tea.
- Eat foods with prebiotics and probiotics. These will help promote the growth of healthy bacteria and aid digestion.
- Avoid foods with chemicals. Try to buy organic fruits, veggies, and meat for the duration of the detox.
- Try not to eat after 7pm. You’ll sleep better and give your body plenty of time to digest what you’ve eaten throughout the day.
- Eat slowly. Make sure to chew your food well. Eating slowly helps digestion and reminds you to slow down and take it easy.
- Find your Zen. Since the brain and gut are closely related, take time to relax and reduce stress through meditation and mindfulness. You can also reach that calm, meditative state by doing something you love, like playing an instrument, dancing, or drawing.
- Walk outside. Now that the sun is coming out and staying out, your body can really benefit from the vitamin D. Try to take longer walks to replenish your vitamin D, which will boost your mood and immune system.
Spring is the perfect time for a boost, the fresh fruits and vegetables in season are alkalizing and get our bodies back into action after a winter hibernation. When you use the steps provided, you will feel renewed with longer-lasting energy. Your brain and gut will thank you!