• Lesley Heidrich

Getting Your Gut

I’m a huge foodie. I believe that our wellbeing begins with what we put in our mouths. When we make the right food choices and fix a few lifestyle components, gut health improves.

Here are some of the strategies to fix gut health:

1. Focus on whole, quality foods. Choose nutrient-rich organic plant foods and foods from animals fed their natural diets, like grass-fed beef and pasture-raised eggs.

2. Eat more fiber. Good bacteria thrive on dietary fiber, so insufficient amounts make it difficult to thrive. Foods like legumes, nuts, beans, peas, oats, bananas, asparagus, seeds, berries, and other vegetables can feed good gut bacteria that help to get rid the bad ones.

3. Increase your anti-inflammatory. Omega 3-rich sources like wild-caught fish, walnuts, and quality fish oil supplements are among the ways you can put out that inflammatory fire.

4. Eliminate the foods that feed bad bacteria. A diet high in refined, sugary foods allows pathogens to grow. So check yourself out for food sensitivities like gluten, dairy, and corn. (In my opinion, this step of the process is the most important one… but also the hardest!)

5. Start taking a high quality probiotic supplement.

6. Feed your good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are what your probiotics feed on. Foods rich in prebiotics include Jerusalem artichoke and dandelion greens. But take caution: too much at once can create gastric distress.

7. Exercise regularly. Among other benefits, regular exercise can foster a community of good bacteria.

8 Sleep better. Getting inadequate or poor-quality sleep could negatively impact your gut flora. Try for eight hours of solid sleep every night. Technology can cause insomnia too, so turn off electronics (including TV and laptops) at least an hour before bed.

9. Curb stress. Chronic stress directly affects your good bacteria, creating an environment where bad bacteria can thrive. While you can’t eliminate stress, you can help reduce it with things like deep breathing, meditation exercises, listening to music, talking to a friend, going for a walk, laughing, drink more tea, and decrease your caffeine intake.

10. Stay hydrated. Water is a simple way to promote a healthy gut!

Acupuncture focuses on reducing stress and healing the gut via direct abdominal treatments and associative ear treatments. In some instances, I’ll also suggest herbal formulas to help with the mending process. Often times nutritional counseling is also done.

Steps toward health don’t have to be massive, they just have to be continuous. Don’t be afraid to make dietary changes, even if they’re small!

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