“How cute is his little pot belly!?!?”
I remember all too well our summer holidays in Spain with my little brother running around the pool with his little twig legs & pot belly. Then I remember, thinking how amazing my mother’s figure was and even in what SHE would consider her worst shape I only observed a small roundness to her belly.
Then, when I became a Health Coach, becoming aware of the ailments that ran through my ancestry became critical to understanding what could lay ahead of me in the road to vibrant health. That’s why its comes as no surprise that bloating, digestive issues & a rounded belly were always on my agenda when it came to health issues.
Luckily, nowadays there is a ton of information available on gut health. Among other factors, I have learned that 70-80% of our immune system is built into our digestive tract. This should give you good reason to start prioritising your gut health if you want to achieve optimal health.
So what does that mean?
The gut is often referred to as the ‘2nd brain’ due to the presence of a high number of serotonin receptors. Serotonin is that ‘feel good hormone’ that can be triggered by doing your favorite activities such as eating ice cream & chocolate, listening to music and yes….even exercise!! Our gut is also packed with an ecosystem of bacteria, some good and some bad, we need both but an imbalance in the good vs bad bacteria is often the root cause of most illnesses.
A depletion of micro-organisms, or small tears in the digestive lining (also known as leaky gut) is becoming commonplace to us. Unfortunately, also commonplace in society are signs of bloating, increased intolerances to foods, brain fog & joint pain - all of which can be traced back to issues with our gut health.
So what can we do?
Every day we have to do work to heal and improve our gut health. In functional medicine a common approach that is taken involves the following:
Firstly, remove the items that can be harmful to our gut. I feel everyone is unique and there is no ‘one size fits all’ dietary theory but nevertheless at times there are commonalities in our health. Often times people have difficulties with dairy, gluten, refined sugar & antibiotics. These items not only work to kill the beneficial gut bacteria but also ruin the integrity of our gut lining & its ability to process complex sugars that are hard to digest. Removing these items from your diet is a simple way to find out if you too may be having some food intolerances that perhaps you didn’t even know about.
Replace, those foods with gut-healing alternatives such as fermented foods i.e. kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha & bone broth.
Repair the damage by introducing probiotics through supplementation, those containing soil based organisms are particularly good since a lot of good bacteria is commonly missing from the soil that most of our foods are grown in nowadays.
Finally a healthy lifestyle extends to more than just what's on the plate. Lack of sleep & stress cause a strain on the digestive system causing a depletion of good bacteria. Ensure you incorporate mindful practices that encourage deep breathing & relaxation such as yoga, walks with focused breathing and meditation.
Following these principles it’s realistic to expect that the typical pot belly & bloating we see as commonplace today can be a thing of the dim & distant past!
Do share this article with anyone you believe would like the support to reach their health goals.
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