If you run in circles with quote-un-quote healthy people, you’ve likely heard the term “gut health” more than once — and if you’re like me, the first time probably had you asking WTF? We’ve heard of mental health, brain health, and all that good stuff, but I’ll admit…gut health immediately had me thinking of something related to losing weight or some shit. Turns out that’s not the case! In fact, gut health is probably one of the most important ways we can take care of ourselves.
So, let’s talk about it! Yeah, I’m 30 and just learned about it, but better late than never…right? To make up for my lack of understanding over the past three decades, I decided I should put my findings into words, immortalize them with a good ol’ blog — how millennial of me, I know — and share them all of you. Plus, if you make it to the end, you’ll even get a little discount code for a product that will help you with your gut health. *wink wink*
Anyways, enough rambling, here are 5 things you should know about gut health! Enjoy!
Your gut is full of bacteria!
I know, it sounds gross, but I can explain. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria and immune cells that ward off infectious properties like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. A healthy gut also communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, which helps maintain general health and well-being. Long story short, taking care of your gut means taking care of your brain and hormonal fluctuations, which cause weight gain, breakouts, constipation, and all the things we hate dealing with. Summary: it’s important!
Certain foods are great for your gut health
Shocker! Some foods are good for your gut, especially fruits and vegetables. While that is not in the least bit surprising, the reason actually is. Foods like broccoli, green peas, lentils, raspberries, and more are all high in fiber which can’t be digested by your body. However, fiber can be digested by bacteria in your gut, which helps stimulate the good bacteria’s growth. The more you know!
…others are not.
Artificial sweeteners have their benefits, but also bring about a few complications for gut health. One study in rats showed that aspartame, an artificial sweetener, reduced weight gain, but it also increased blood sugar and impaired insulin response. Additionally, some studies have shown that they can negatively affect the gut microbiota.
Probiotics are the key!
You’ve probably heard about probiotics in some run-of-the-mill yogurt commercial, but did you know probiotics are able to help ward off disease-causing microorganisms, help with digestion, absorb nutrients, improve immune function and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, including constipation and diarrhea? Sign me up! Hot tip: if you’re not on top of your diet and don’t have the time/budget to be eating yogurt and kombucha every day, you can get them in pill form as well and take them daily. Easy peasy!
Prebiotics are too!
Maybe a less commonly heard term is prebiotics, which is essentially food for the bacteria in your gut. A good source of prebiotics comes from raw and unfiltered vinegars (such as Apple Cider Vinegar) — which have compounds that encourage the growth of microorganisms beneficial to the gut microbiome. Consuming prebiotics helps the gut bacteria produce nutrients for your colon cells and leads to a healthier digestive system which is why many people take a daily dose of living vinegar to kickstart their gut. When vinegar is filtered, the prebiotic is stripped away.
One of my all-time favourite brands is Acid League and their Living Vinegars. There are so many to choose from that not only promote a healthy gut but taste really great and have many functions. It’s safe to say I am obsessed with their Wine Proxies and Living Tonics, to name a few. If you want to give them a try, you can feel free to use my discount code MEGANW10 for 10% off your purchase! You get a prebiotic, you get a prebiotic, YOU get a prebiotic! Oprah, anyone?
So, while I may not be on my way to a career in gut health, I hope this guide helps you to grasp a beginner’s understanding of what it means to care for your gut. These facts only scratch the surface. So, if you’re interested in leveling up your health game, I highly encourage you to take a deep dive to figure out how you can incorporate a healthy gut into your daily routine. Hey, why not start with some Acid League products? Just sayin’!