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Gut Health, Part 3: Here Are 6 Tips to a Healthier Gut

By Dr. Molly Casey

Gut Health, Part 3

The gut is a significant part of the overall health of the body. But how do you establish good gut health and why is it so important? In Part 1 we learned why the gut is referred to as the second brain and how the brain and gut are connected. Part 2 examined common conditions and issues that are related to sub-optimal gut health.

So there’s a lot at stake when it comes to gut health; here are six practices to a healthier gut -- and a healthier you!

Get regular chiropractic adjustments - Chiropractic adjustments promote optimal functioning of the central nervous system. If and when central nervous system communication to organs such as the intestines, stomach, gallbladder, and liver is interfered with and less than optimal, the body will not be as healthy as possible. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help promote optimal communication and functioning, thus assisting with ideal gut health.

Get proper sleep - Whether in terms of time or quality, a lack of sleep affects nearly every aspect of life and health; gut microbiome and food digestion process is no exception. Sleep is required for healing and proper cellular function. In Western society, overly busy schedules and ingesting substances that interfere with sleep (such as alcohol) have created severely sleep-deprived Americans.

Create healthy sleep patterns - Choose a regular bedtime and stick with it. Stop electronics one hour before bedtime and attempt to get seven to nine hours of sleep nightly. Make sure the room is as dark as possible and arise at the same time daily.

Address food - Typically the Standard American Diet (SAD) is made up of highly processed foods that don’t have high nutritional value and actually contain chemicals or additives that negatively affect the balance of gut microbiome. Excess sugar and alcohol intake also throw off the gut environment, decreasing optimal functioning and increasing chances of chronic health conditions and illnesses. Eat as much food in its natural state as possible -- things such as vegetables, organic legumes, and grains. Take prebiotic and probiotic supplements daily. Prebiotic supplements are carbohydrates that act as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Probiotics are microorganisms that function like good bacteria in the gut. Supplementing daily with both of these promotes healthy bacteria balance within the gut and overall health. Including fermented foods in your diet will also be beneficial as they are a good source of probiotics. Some fermented food examples are sauerkraut, keifer, yogurt, and kombucha.

Avoid antibiotics - There is a time and place for everything, including medications. However, medications are often too quickly used as the primary intervention avenue and this can have more negative effects than expected. Although antibiotics can be useful in wiping out a bacterial infection, they also wipe out other healthy bacteria within the gut. It is about proper balance in the gut and when all this bacteria is wiped out, it can open the door for continual issues. Let me be clear: I am not saying don’t use antibiotics, but to use them as infrequently as possible. When it is necessary to use antibiotics, make sure to take a quality probiotic between antibiotic doses in order to support and promote other healthy gut bacteria that is required for an optimally functioning gut.

Exercise consistently and prioritize mental health - Gut health in individuals who are physically fit show healthier gut bacteria balance. Remember, the brain and the gut work bi-directionally, meaning one affects the other. Get regular exercise 5-6 days weekly to increase your physical health and stamina as well as your mental health. Integrate time for yourself with practices that boost your level of self-confidence and relaxation while decreasing your stress and anxiety levels; this could be meditation, cleaning your home, gardening, walking in the park … Whatever it is, enable these moments as often as possible. Remember, consistency is key.

You can’t escape the bottom line: If your gut is sick, so is your journey in health whether you realize it or not. Stop overlooking daily practices that may be feeding areas of sickness and ailments in your life; instead, start embracing the daily lifestyle of someone with a healthy gut and take steps toward the highest quality life you can enjoy. Let the doctors at The Joint Chiropractic help you along the way.

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