WELLNESS-Did you realize that we actually have two brains? Our gut is often referred to as our second brain because everything that happens in our body begins and ends in our stomach. The majority of Americans are moving through life with an unhealthy digestive system thus making them more prone to myriad of possible diseases and health challenges.
There are numerous reasons why our stomachs are off balance, with prescription drugs and antibiotics being number one. Stress also plays a huge factor in lowering digestive health, as does overconsumption of sugar and alcohol.
Some signs that you may have an unhealthy gut are skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or acne, anxiety and/or depression, lack of energy, bloating, gas, diarrhea or constipation, acid reflux and heartburn, and arthritis or inflammation of the joints.
When I work with clients we look at what they’re doing to promote a healthy gut and then get down to some serious business of improving their system even more by using the following life-changing suggestions:
Fermented Foods - Kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha tea are just some of the fermented foods which offer an incredible amount of gut-healthy bacteria. Make it a goal to consume some fermented products daily to optimize the healthy flora in your stomach.
Probiotic - More important than a multivitamin is a probiotic. Choose a probiotic supplement with at least 30 billion live cultures and commit to taking it daily indefinitely. Within a short period of time you’ll begin to see the positive benefits of this live product going to work! If you’ve recently consumed a round of antibiotics, it can take up to 6 months to regain your healthy stomach flora.
Sugar and Alcohol - Sugar, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates like processed foods can feed unhealthy gut yeast that attacks our systems. Often a short detox is required to get things under control and regain balance. Eliminating sugar, alcohol, and processed foods and sometimes even fruit and dairy products while consuming fermented foods and a probiotic supplement will re-boot your system and get you back to feeling great.
Meditation - Stress actually affects our entire body including our immune system and digestive health. Taking time each day to meditate will benefit your overall health in ways that you can’t even imagine. Take a class in transcendental meditation or join a meditation group near you. Also create time each morning for quiet reflection to de-stress and reconnect with your spirit.
When we begin to truly understand that our gut is like the operating system for our entire body, we start to make it a priority. If you aren’t feeling your best, work on regaining a healthy gut and you may just realize where the problems have been all along.
(Jay Bradley is an anti-aging, wellness & lifestyle expert living in Los Angeles