Most of us don’t bother to take the time to contemplate everything that happens inside our bodies. We know we have a heartbeat and that it’s responsible for moving blood around the body and to our brains. We know that we have lungs and that they’re responsible for our ability to breathe air and get oxygen into our body. Our stomachs digest our food and our posteriors expel the waste from the leftovers. But outside of the basic functions of these systems, we rarely stop to consider the importance of certain systems in relation to our overall health.
In recent years, a good example has been how good oral health has been linked to cardiac health. One would never assume that brushing one’s teeth regularly would be associated with good heart health, but there it is. Most of the time, when we consume something, we do so because we’re hungry and we count on our calorie consumption to provide us with the energy and nutrition we need to get through the day. But there’s a lot going on in the ol’ gut that we rarely consider. And there’s plenty we can do to help move things along that improve one’s overall health.
According to an article posted by HealthLine.com, “The human gut is more complex than previously thought and has a huge impact on whole body health.” When you stop to think about it, everything you eat contributes to your overall health, which is what the article goes on to say, “A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion […]” Some of that seems to address the aspects I was referring to in my opening paragraphs.
Some of the best things you can do to improve your gut health is to monitor and control what you’re loading into it. A well-known food for good gut health is yogurt. But some of the ones that people may not consider include fermented foods, such as kimchi and miso. I single those out because I’ve eaten my fair share and I enjoy them. But a healthy dose of probiotics will help with overall gut health and you can even find probiotic supplements, these days.
Another good type of food to consume are ones that are high in fiber. You’re likely thinking that’s a no-brainer, and you’d be right. High-fiber foods listed by that HealthLine article include legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus and leeks. If you ask me, leeks are fucking disgusting, but I’m game for the rest of that list. In fact, I’ve included all of that list (except peas and beans) into shakes I’ve been making with my mini blender.
Outside of what you eat, there are a number of things that can help promote proper gut health. These include keeping your stress levels low (not easy, in today’s climate), getting enough sleep and exercising regularly. Staying properly hydrated, AND with the right fluids will also go along way to promoting good gut health. When I refer to the right fluids, I mean staying away from alcoholic and caffeinated drinks as these can actually dehydrate you and caffeinated drinks are a diuretic. Changing your diet to accommodate these things can be achieved by consulting a dietitian or your medical practitioner. As usual, you shouldn’t try to completely alter your diet and lifestyle without consulting your medical practitioner.
Trust your gut; it takes better care of you and the overall functioning of your body than you know. The last suggestion I’ll make before stepping off my gut-soaked soapbox is to recommend not eating before bedtime. Even your gut needs to rest at night and if you spend half the night digesting those wings you thought were a good idea at midnight, it can lead to heartburn, indigestion, stomach pains and lack of proper sleep. One’s body can be compared to a house of cards; one wrong move can bring the whole system down. ☯️