Spring is the perfect time to hit the refresh button and practice making more mindful dietary decisions to restore your gut health. No worries if your New Year’s resolutions have fizzled, research shows spring is the optimal time to reassess your resolutions and get back on the wagon.
About 70% of your immune system is in your gut. Taking care of your gut health can help prevent disease, reduce GI tract inflammation, boost energy levels and help with weight loss.
Don’t wait until summer to fortify your gut. Here are our favorite spring cleaning tips for gut health.
Drink Lots of Water
Proper water consumption is vital to healthy digestion. Drinking water helps to break down the food you eat, aids in nutrient absorption and helps waste more easily pass through the intestines. To ensure you are maximizing the benefits of water, aim to drink at least eight glasses of water per day.
Make sure the water you are drinking is filtered. Tap water contains chemicals that are harsh on your digestive system like chlorine, fluoride, lead and other contaminants that disrupt the bacteria of the gut.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that are consumed through food and supplements. Probiotics help balance your gut bacteria, ward off constipation and bloating, improve the immune system and restore overall gut health. Supplements are an easy way to get your probiotics, but eating probiotic-rich foods is the best way to maximize probiotic absorption.
Our favorite probiotic-friendly foods include:
- Apple cider vinegar. This fermented apple juice helps with indigestion, gas and bloating.
- Cruciferous vegetables. Works to remove harmful bacteria from the GI tract.
- Kefir, yogurt and kombucha. Contains acids and enzymes to aid in digestion.
Other notable favorites:
- Dark chocolate
- Flax seeds
- Chicory root
- Dandelion greens
- Cottage cheese
Add CBD to Your Diet
CBD, or cannabidiol, contains powerful naturally-occurring chemical compounds that strengthen cells in the GI tract. Commonly used as a health supplement, CBD promotes homeostatic balance within the body. CBD can also calm the vagus nerve, an influential nerve that aids in digestion, and engages receptors in the gastrointestinal tract to manage stomach acid and reduce inflammatory response.
CBD can help maintain the integrity of the gut by engaging the cannabinoid receptors in the GI tract and returning the body to its optimal level of function. Regular use of CBD may prevent and manage symptoms related to leaky gut syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Research shows exercise improves gut bacteria. Just six weeks of exercise can alter the chemistry of your gut bacteria. With regular physical activity, your gut microbes that produce fatty-acids will increase, leading to a reduced risk of inflammatory diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and certain digestive diseases.
Regular exercise improves circulation, helps manage weight and encourage muscle contractions that release myokines to combat inflammation. The study showed that when exercise stops, the gut will return to its pre-exercise state within a few weeks.
Sip Bone Broth
Bone broth is naturally healing and boasts extensive health benefits. This powerful yet simple broth contains high levels of collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine. This hot beverage has the power to reduce inflammation, boost your immune system and protect the lining of the GI tract. Sipping bone broth may even reduce allergies and asthma symptoms.
Avoid Processed Foods
Nutrition is the bedrock of health and wellness. A poor diet that relies on processed foods is dangerous, as these foods lack the essential nutrients our bodies need. Your body can’t recognize the chemicals in processed foods, and your digestive system will reject it. This leads to inflammation in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract, gas and indigestion. The extensive list of artificial ingredients found in processed foods stresses the body overtime and can lead to chronic GI tract inflammation.
Your gut needs balance to perform at an optimal level and keep you healthy. So while you’re cleaning your home or office this spring, make time to clean up your habits, too. Use our tips as a blueprint while you restore your gut health and enjoy the benefits.