Have you ever had a “gut feeling” about something?  Have you ever been asked to “follow your gut”?  These phrases may mean more than you think.  Science is discovering that there is a primal connection between our gut and our brain.  We’re told to “trust our gut instinct” when making a difficult decision.  Where did this come from?  This mind-gut connection is not just metaphorical.  According to Dr. Erica Sonnenburg PhD, “Our brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback about how hungry we are, whether or not we’re experiencing stress, or if we’ve ingested a disease-causing microbe. This information superhighway is called the brain-gut axis and it provides constant updates on the state of affairs at your two ends. That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach after looking at your post holiday credit card bill is a vivid example of the brain-gut connection at work. You’re stressed and your gut knows it—immediately.”

There is a lot of talk out there today about GUT HEALTH and PROBIOTICS.  What does all of this mean?  Let me explain in simple terms.  Bacteria in your gut might sound like a bad thing, but your gut actually uses bacteria to process food into energy.  We call these helpful bacteria probiotics. Most people have heard the term in yogurt ads, but that’s about it. What are probiotics and what do they mean to your body?

It all starts in your gut, the system in your body responsible for digestion. Proper digestion is essential to your health and probiotics are essential to your gut. When bacteria are out of balance, it can cause complications such as:

  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes
  • B12 deficiency

If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to get your gut health back on track. Here are five awesome tips for promoting your gut health and well-being.

1. Take a Quality Probiotic
In 1907, Nobel Laureate, Elie Metchnikoff introduced the concept of probiotics. He published a groundbreaking study that linked longevity with consuming fermented milk that contained Lactobacilli, a bacterial strain that produces lactic acid and helps maintain healthy intestinal microflora.  Contact me if you need help choosing a probiotic.

2. Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria. Although that includes the bad bacteria that can make you sick, it also includes the good bacteria your body needs. This disruption of intestinal harmony can cause a lack of diversity among bacteria that’s sure to affect your health.

3. Incorporate Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Fermented foods can introduce good bacteria to your gut but know that it’s better to make your own. Store-bought options are usually pasteurized, which kills good bacteria. Some of the best fermented foods for promoting gut health include:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Kefir
  • Kimchi
  • Miso
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha

4. Eat Less Refined Sugar
Among the many issues caused by refined sugar (inflammation, weight gain, hormonal imbalance…), it also promotes the growth of bad bacteria and upsets gut flora balance.

5. Lower Your Stress Levels
Much like the spinal cord, neurons cover your intestinal wall where they send information throughout your body. The existence of the brain/gut connection makes it clear that stress can be linked to gut health.  When stressed, your brain sends messages to your gut in the form of chemicals. These chemicals affect how well your gut works.

Having 1 smoothie each day is a fabulous way to nourish your gut and the rest of your body.  Enjoy this simple recipe that is great for summer:

Green Lemonade Smoothie
click here for recipe…