Go With Your Gut

We’ve all heard the expressions. “Go with your gut. I have a gut feeling… He gut-punched me. “ These sayings exist for a reason! Turns out, our gut (which includes everything from our mouth to our anus) is a main driver of our good health. Functional and conventional medicine alike are increasingly recognizing that if your gut health is poor, you’re likely to find yourself with chronic disease. 

There are trillions of microorganisms which inhabit our small and large intestines which make up an environment known as the microbiome. The gut has been referred to as “the second brain” because of how much it impacts our health. The health of our gut can influence anything from how well we digest certain foods, to our skin health, to our brain health and cognitive function, to the health of our overall immune system, to how we store fat, and much more.

Chris Kresser has discussed several ways in which the health of our gut contributes to chronic disease. When our gut microbiome is disrupted, we may have numerous health issues, including allergies, autoimmune disease, poor bone health, brain dysfunction (anything from depression to dementia), cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, skin disorders, thyroid disorders, and not surprisingly, several gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel, Crohn’s Disease, etc. 

There are some factors beyond our control which may impact our gut health. Did you know that being born by c-section can set the stage early for gut issues, simply because these babies aren’t exposed to certain bacteria in the birth canal?!

However, there are many factors which are within our control, which can have dramatic impacts on  preventing, reversing, or at least managing disease. 

These factors can include eating an anti-inflammatory, whole food, nutrient dense diet (as opposed to the Standard American Diet, which is literally killing us); managing stress (also a killer which most people underestimate); getting adequate sleep (sounding like a broken record here, but way more serious than most people want to admit); avoiding antibiotics; and exercising (yep, impacts the gut too!).

If you read enough articles on my website, you’ll start to see a repetitive theme:  We need to take charge of our own health through proper diet, sleep, exercise, and stress management, just to start. It’s easy to say you don’t have time. It’s easy to say it doesn’t apply to you. I get it—change is hard, especially in your busy life. I’ve been there too. 

But if it could save your life? Improve the quality of your life? Keep you around for family? Wouldn’t it be worth it? You don’t have to figure out how to make these changes all on your own. You don’t have to be perfect at it either. Research is increasingly supporting the role of health coaches to help people make these habit changes to improve and prolong quality of life.  Aren’t you and your family worth it?

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