Written by: Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Gut health is important for total health and well-being. Most illnesses start in your gut. A healthy gut occurs when there is a balance between good and bad bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. 80% of your immune system and the majority of your body’s serotonin is in the gut. When your gut is unhealthy, your immune system and hormones do not function properly, causing you to become sick. This is also how autoimmune disorders originate.
A healthy gut aids in digestion and absorbs nutrients to fuel and maintain the body. Your gut filters out metabolic waste and toxins. When your gut is unhealthy, it cannot release toxins which can result in health issues such as chronic fatigue, illnesses, and inflammation throughout the body. Other signs of an unhealthy gut include autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Most sensitivities and allergies come from the foods we eat, not our environment. Symptoms include brain fog, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and joint pain.
Our brain is considered our second gut. When we suffer from chronic stress and anxiety, it often manifests in digestive problems.
Improving gut health is not as difficult as you may think. Here are steps you can take:
1. Drink 64 ounces of water per day.
This may sound unrealistic if you’re not used to drinking a lot of water. Start small and build upon it. Attaching water consumption to something you’re already doing will make it easier to consume and develop the habit. For example, before drinking your morning cup of tea or coffee, drink a bottle of water. The reward is your cup of tea or coffee. If you have multiple cups, drink a bottle in between your cups.
2. Eat hydrating foods.
a. Leafy greens
3. Eat a high-fiber diet.
c. Quinoa or rice
4. Exercise daily for 30 minutes.
If 30 minutes in one block of time is challenging, break the 30 minutes into 15-minute or 10-minute increments. Activity is activity. It’s all beneficial.
5. Journal what you eat and drink and make note of how these foods and beverages are making you feel.
If you feel bloated, gassy, nauseous, or congested, you might want to limit or eliminate these foods and beverages.
6. Reduce caffeine, processed sugar, and alcohol.
I am not suggesting you eliminate all three, but reduce consumption. All three can impact your sleep preventing you from getting a good night’s rest. Poor sleep will increase cortisol levels which cause cravings for high-fat, high-calorie food. This can cause weight gain. In addition, alcohol turns to sugar in the body. High levels of sugar are toxic to the body. If high levels are consumed daily, this can lead to diabetes and certain types of cancer.
If this list is overwhelming, focus on one step at a time. For example, start with water. Incorporate one additional glass of water into your day by attaching the behavior to something you are already doing. Do this step for several days, until you feel confident that it’s sustainable. Then, add a second glass of water to your day.
You may choose to incorporate one serving of fiber into each meal on a given day.
If activity is a challenge for you, start with one day of 30-minute exercise. If a 30-minute time block is not doable, break the activity down into smaller increments throughout the day.
Habits take time to build. Everyone develops habits at different rates. Do not compare yourself to others. For habits to stick, they must be repeated consistently. The more you repeat the behavior, the sooner you will build strong neural pathways in your brain, forming the new habit.
Lisa Hammett, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Lisa Hammett is a leader in health and wellness, stress management, and goal setting. After a 26-year career in the corporate retailing world, which left her stressed, burned out, and at her heaviest weight, she left the industry for a successful 16-year career in direct selling. During this time she developed her love of coaching. She also started her health and wellness journey, losing 65 pounds, and has kept it off for 11 years. After losing the weight, she became a health coach, for a global wellness company, and has been coaching members for the past 11 years, to achieve their weight loss goals. In May of 2020, she launched her Success Coaching practice, to help individuals who were struggling with anxiety, depression, and weight gain due to the pandemic. Her business has since expanded to life coaching. Client success stories include weight loss, improved health, stress reduction, creating a balanced life, development of sustainable healthy habits (mind and body), development of a laser-focused Vision for goal achievement, building strong confidence, improved relationships, and business success. Lisa is currently writing her first book, Lisa’s first book, From Burnout to Best Life is currently in production. To read more about it and reserve a copy, go to https://www.lisahammett.com/burnouttobestlife.