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Improving Gut Health Through Self-Care: 5 Practical Tips

We've all been there... life is crazy; work or kids or both are more than a full-time job and here comes the stomach to make sure it gets attention. It could be that you're constipated and bloated. Or you've got rumbling and tumbling, and that bathroom needs to be close by for a while. Stress and poor eating habits tend to go hand-in-hand, so let's talk about the connection between self-care and gut health and how you can quickly improve it with practical tips.

The gut is often referred to as the "second brain." It's highly sensitive to emotions, stress, and anxiety. Not tending to your needs can do a number on your gut health, leading to many issues. The good news is that incorporating self-care practices into your daily routine can help maintain a healthy, happy gut. You can do these things and still be there for the thousand other things demanding your attention and time.

Scientific studies show mindful eating positively affects gut health, improves digestion, and reduces gastrointestinal symptoms. Regular physical activity enhances the gut microbiome and reduces inflammation. Staying well-hydrated supports proper digestion and bowel movements. Effective stress management leads to a balanced gut environment, while quality sleep allows gut repair and maintenance.

Here are FIVE practices that are FREE and shouldn't add more to your busy-ness plate.

  • Mindful Eating: Slow down. Chew your food slowly, savor the flavors, and listen to your satiation cues. It took more than 5 minutes to make your meal, so take more than that to ENJOY your meal. Mindful eating aids proper digestion and nutrient absorption, reducing gastrointestinal symptoms. This is much easier if you haven't waited until you are STARVING to eat. (Yep. Happens to us, too!)

  • Movement: Regular physical activity, even simple daily walks or dance parties, promotes a thriving gut microbiome and reduces inflammation. How? Increasing blood flow to the area encourages muscle movement and provides oxygen and support for nutrients feeding gut flora. Yoga can really help with this.

  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water is crucial for gut health as it aids digestion and bowel movements and maintains a balanced gut environment. Start your day with warm lemon water for an extra boost. Some people want a cool cup to remind them to drink their water. Others set timers. If you're unsure you've had enough water today, have another glass. A little extra won't hurt; it might help.

  • Stress Management: Chronic stress negatively impacts gut health by altering the gut microbiome and increasing intestinal permeability... which means gut leaking. Stress alters brain and body chemistry, skews cortisol numbers, and screws with sleep. Some people can relieve stress by meditating, while others enjoy crafting or reading. Taking 30 minutes a day to clear your mind is so important. We advocate putting it on your schedule (IN PEN if you use a paper planner), so it's just as important as soccer practice.

  • Sleep: Nothing is as restorative for your body as a good night's sleep. Sleep rejuvenates the body down to the cellular level and plays a vital role in gut health by allowing your system to recalibrate and set. You turn off your computer every day. Do the same for yourself. Close all those tabs and move through a relaxing routine that you follow nightly. In a short time, your body will anticipate the shift, and you will find yourself easing into sleep more readily and easily and usually sleeping more soundly. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, and be honest with yourself about how much sleep you really need. There's no award for pretending you only need 6 hours of sleep if you're an 8- or 9-hour person. Really. No trophy. Just an achy gut and exhausted system.

Consider adding these holistic health approaches to enhancing gut health as well:

  • Probiotics and Prebiotics: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and fermented vegetables while enjoying prebiotic foods like garlic, onions, and avocados. You can also supplement with probiotics and prebiotics. Remember: Probiotics are the good bugs in the gut. PREbiotics FEED the bugs so they live and thrive and reproduce.

  • Reduce Inflammatory Foods: Limit highly processed foods, sugars, and refined carbs. Instead, focus on whole foods, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and clean, natural proteins.

  • Herbal Remedies: Certain herbs like ginger, peppermint, lavender, and chamomile can promote gut health and reduce stress. We love teas and tisanes. Follow along for many suggestions we offer on making interesting treats that can support your healthy gut.

  • Time-controlled eating: Consider eating on a consistent schedule that gives your digestive system a regular break, allowing time for gut repair and supporting gut balance. We can help you develop a schedule that's ideal for your situation. But the key is consistency and good choices.

Incorporate Self-Care and Thrive Remember, self-care is essential to your overall health and wellness. Self-care isn't a spa day and fancy nails. It is self-love. Self-care is literally caring for your body. Your whole body. It might not be as Insta-cool, but embracing practical tips and holistic strategies and getting support gives you a body that can handle the challenges life brings.

Please... don't be afraid to reach out for support. Join our community at Wild Free Health, where you'll find like-minded individuals ready to offer guidance and encouragement. Remember, you're not alone on this wild health journey.

Cheers to a thriving gut and a more vibrant life!



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