4 Considerations for Maintaining GOOD Gut Health:
Shout out to all you non GI sufferers! What can you do to maintain that healthy experience you’ve got goin on for yourself?
Better yet – to all those who worked your butts off to REGAIN your gut health, are you worried about maintaining good gut health? Take a look at what you can keep in mind to keep things nice and healthy.
Fiber Intake and Gut Health
“Eat your fruits and vegetables” – ugh, it’s a message that doesn’t even hold meaning anymore because it’s been shoved down our throats since we learned the Food Pyramid (a totally different topic for discussion…)
I’ll give some updated context to this notion because it is NO LESS IMPORTANT today.
Aside from the nutrient content that our fruits and vegetables provide, they are also how we feed our good bugs.
Good bacteria in the gut needs to be fed. What do they eat? Probiotics. What are probiotics? Fiber!
So, if you’re sitting pretty with your gut health right now and you want to maintain that, ensuring that each meal has some solid fiber is key.
How much fiber is recommended? For men: at least 38. For women: at least 25 g
(If you are someone who is struggling with acne, these numbers are higher!)
Here is a sample of how you can reach this goal in 1 day:
Eggs with broccoli (5 g, 1 C)
Smoothie with strawberries (3 g, 1/2 C), Blueberries (2 g, 1/2 C), Peanut Butter (2 g, 2 T), Flaxseed (12 g, 2T), almond milk
Mixed Greens (2 g, 2 Cups), grilled chicken, chopped walnuts (2 g, 1/4 cup), 1/2 avocado (5 g), Roma tomatoes (2 g for 3 tomatoes), dressing of choice
Grilled shrimp, quinoa (6 g, 1/2 C), grilled asparagus (8 g, 8 spears)
Total of 49 g of fiber in this 1 day!
Fiber is part of maintaining good gut health. If you are not tolerating fiber – you need to do some digging. Check out THIS POST to see if anything resonates.
How do you know that you’re getting everything food has to offer?
More than 4,000 different phytochemical have been identified! Only a small portion (about 150) have been studied with any depth but still! Instead of trying to make sure you’re hitting every single one, you can simplify it by just making sure you’re getting a variety of color in your meals!
You don’t have to eat every single color in every single meal. You have to look at your week overall and be able to say that you’ve got all the colors: purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, white, brown, green.
If you’re doing that, you’re going to be getting all those delightful little chemicals that help fight damaging free radicals, fiber that will feed the good bacteria in the gut, and inflammation fighting properties and you won’t have to do anything more than what you’ve learned as a 3 year old – colors!
What about protein sources? The same rule applies. If you are a person who eats the same thing over and over, take this as a sign to start mixing it up. Add some beans, legumes, fish, and other animal proteins besides chicken and turkey all the time!
Vitamin D Status
Vitamin D status is very related to gut health and this vitamin level needs to be optimized in order to optimize gut health. Most people, even though who live in sunny areas, do not get adequate vitamin D from the sun. Our food is, unfortunately, not a great source of this vitamin so for many, supplementing is really important.
Stress Management and Gut Health
This is a tricky topic because sometimes there isn’t a lot a person can do about the stress they’re dealing with.
Stress directly impacts digestion in several ways.
First, stress can decrease stomach acid. When this happens, the signal that stomach acid sends to the digestive organs does not get sent and digestive enzymes are not released.
When this happens, food makes it’s way into the lower parts of the GI tract in a larger form than they should and can “over feed” the bacteria there leading to bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine (SIBO) or in the large intestine.
Secondly, stress has an impact on the integrity of the gut lining and can play a role in causing leaky gut! Once the gut starts to leak, you’re setting yourself up for autoimmunity, food sensitivities, and a world of inflammation
Check out this post on Acid Reflux and learn more about how stress can cause this type of damage!