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3 Evidence-Based Gut Health Habits To Improve Your Gut Today

Recently featured "The Gut Health Coach" by Yahoo!, Chelsea Haines has a unique way of helping high-performers heal. She doesn't claim to know best. Her mission: to remind you that you are the expert on your body, only you know precisely what you need, and you are not "crazy" for feeling how you feel.

 
Executive Contributor Chelsea Haines

Could how you eat have just as much impact on your gut health as what you eat? While I have been working on this for years with my clients, it isn't the mainstream idea. I've included three evidence-based gut health habits to improve your gut health today to show you just how vital your habits and lifestyle are. There's a pervasive belief in health and wellness that gut health is solely determined by what we eat. While nutrition undoubtedly plays a significant role, it's time to challenge this outdated paradigm and embrace a more holistic approach to healing.

 

woman with health intestine concept on the blue background

At its core, gut health is about more than just food it's about the habits we cultivate and how we nourish our bodies. This shift in perspective opens up a world of possibilities for improving our digestive wellness and overall well-being.

 

Gut health habit 1: How you eat

For high performers, what is really important is finding out why you would bother at all. You're short on time as is, you want to know: What is in it for me?

 

  1. Better Digestion.

  2. Absorption of Essential Nutrients.

  3. More Energy.

  4. Control over your health and well-being.

 

Digestion

Take time to sit and enjoy your food. Eat with people you love. Give thanks before a meal. Take a breath before you start eating. Simple steps are all it takes to switch your system from sympathetic (fight-or-flight) to parasympathetic (rest-and-digest). If your body is in a relaxed and unstressed state your body has the ability (and resources) to focus on digesting your food properly.

 

Absorption

The saying goes: You're not what you eat; you're what you absorb. This certainly rings true for your health. With your body in the parasympathetic (rest-and-digest) mode, you are better able to absorb all the essential nutrients you're working so hard to prepare in the form of healthy meals, drinks, and snacks.

 

Energy

If you finish a meal feeling heavy and sluggish, there’s a good chance you’re eating the wrong foods or overeating in one sitting. Eating while distracted (at your desk, in front of your TV) can cause overeating.

 

On the one hand, if you eat too little food, you'll feel hungry or tired too soon. Too much, and you'll feel heavy and sluggish for hours. Slow, mindful, and undistracted eating is how you can end your meal feeling energetic.

 

Control over your health and wellbeing

Learning to be present to your body's needs 3 - 6 times a day creates the habit of becoming in tune with your body. This mind-body connection helps you realize that your body constantly sends you cues. You learn to read, interpret, and respond as your body requests. Through this, you start running like a highly functioning sports car with the proper fuel, services, and checkups. We mitigate the reasons for breaking down before they become a reality, thanks to your connection to your body and its needs.

 

Gut health habit 2: Stress management

Stress is a silent saboteur of gut health, wreaking havoc on our digestive systems and disrupting the balance of bacteria in the gut. A host of digestive issues, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and leaky gut syndrome, are correlated to chronic stress (which many of us don't realize we have.)

 

To support gut health, it's essential to prioritize stress management as part of your daily routine. Practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature can be powerful stress management tools. Managing stress will look different to everyone, but by reducing stress levels, we can create a more harmonious environment for our gut bacteria to thrive.

 

Gut health habit 3: Regular movement

Research has shown that physical activity is good for the body and gut health. Regular exercise increases microbial diversity in the gut microbiome, reduces inflammation, and improves gut barrier function. Additionally, exercise can help regulate bowel movements (bye-bye, constipation) and alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders such as bloating.

 

Bonus gut health habit: Eating environment and social connection

If you've seen how the people around you have influenced your work and life, then it should come as no surprise that the people you surround yourself with also affect your gut microbiome. Did you know you also share a gut microbiome with the people you're near?

 

Beyond what we eat and how we eat, the environment in which we consume our meals also plays a significant role in gut health. Creating a peaceful and enjoyable eating environment can enhance digestion and promote well-being. Engaging in meaningful conversations and fostering social connections during mealtime can stimulate digestion and support a healthy gut-brain axis.

 

The best part? You're in control

The best part about this emerging research is how much control we have over our health and well-being. If we continue to listen to and respect our bodies, our bodies will thank us in the form of health, energy, vitality, motivation, stable moods, and, hopefully, for us all, a long, happy, and healthy life.

 

Here's to a healthier gut—and a happier, healthier, high-performing you!


 

Chelsea Haines, Gut Health Coach

Recently featured "The Gut Health Coach" by Yahoo!, Chelsea Haines has a unique way of helping high-performers heal. She doesn't claim to know best. Her mission: to remind you that YOU are the expert on your body, only you know precisely what you need, and you are not "crazy" for feeling how you feel. Her expertise stems from personally healing autoimmune disease paired with formal degrees in psychology, gut health, and mindfulness. She’s the Founder of The Gut Health Agency, where a team of health coaches & Registered Dietitians merge health coaching with clinical testing for increased patient compliance and lasting habit change ‒ a needle-moving combination not otherwise seen in the gut health space.

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