You’re training correctly, you think you’re eating well and supplementing correctly but feel like your results have just hit a wall? What if all your hard work and effort is for nothing? What if poor gut health is sabotaging your results?
Optimal gut health is sometimes overlooked as for many people an upset tummy just seems like an everyday normality. Gas, bloating, constipation and irregular bowel movements are all symptoms of a digestive system that may need improvement.
The digestive system is a pathway starting at the mouth and ending at the anus. It is responsible for breaking down the foods we eat, extracting the nutrients needed, and then eliminating the waste. Our guts need a balance of good and bad bacteria to work optimally. The problem is that poor food choices, viruses, parasites, caffeine overload, high alcohol consumption and antibiotics can cause damage to the gastrointestinal tract, which leads to an imbalance to our gut bacteria and therefore experiencing the symptoms listed in the above paragraph.
Fortunately, the good news is that you can restore your gut to optimal health by making a few small changes:
• Find out what your food intolerances are: By making a diary of what you eat for each meal and how you feel in the hours following will help you to identify what foods cause your gut to become upset. Once you have identified these foods you can then start to reduce or eliminate them. Watch out for common intolerances or food allergies such as gluten, wheat, lactose, soy, peanuts, tree nuts and soy.
• Eat some dirty vegetables: Historically you’re probably used to eating vegetables that have been cleaned, boiled, baked, fried or cleaned to the point of near death. Don’t get me wrong these techniques have their time and place but by increasing your consumption of raw and locally grown vegetables, you will expose your gut to more natural bacteria.
• Don’t eat the same foods every day: Your great routine of eating eggs and spinach for breakfast, chicken and veggies for lunch and beef stir fry for dinner everyday over the past 3 months could be doing more damage than good! Loading up on the same foods everyday will favor the same bacteria which means that when you do come to eating something different chances are you may experience discomfort, digestion problems or inflammation. “Each type of food and micronutrient seems to have a [bacterial] specialist that can utilize it. So maybe the best diet has a little bit of everything,” says Mark Heiman, vice president and chief scientific officer at Microbiome Therapeutics.
• Get plenty of fiber: To help our bodies excrete waste or in layman’s terms, keep ourselves regular; we need to be consuming enough fiber. When waste is unable to easily pass through our bodies, there is higher chance that too much bad bacteria will develop. Consuming adequate fiber rich foods such as fruit, legumes and whole grains will help to increase your fiber intake. Additionally, you can also supplement with fiber powder such as psyllium husk or grapefruit pectin.
Remember stomach discomfort does not need to be something that you have to put up with on a daily basis. Take the time and effort to implement the above changes so you can obtain optimal gut health and achieve the results that you’re working hard for!