A woman’s gut health. It’s something so completely essential to our everyday existence that I ask myself, why weren’t we taught this stuff in high school health class?! Having good digestion is more than just not getting the bubble guts after meals, dealing with bloating or whether you poop regularly.
All of those matters, but the topic digs a heck of a lot deeper, which is why I’m going to start grazing the tip of this iceberg of a topic we call gut health, so to shed some light on what it can mean for you plus why you should care.
Less Sick Days
The interesting thing about our gut or gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is that it’s made up of trillions of types of bacteria. Literally. Humans are more bacteria than we are human. Which sounds like something straight up out of a sci-fi movie if you ask me.
These trillions of bacteria are collectively called the microbiome, and they play a huge role in our immune system function. The microbiome can be further broken into the two camps of good bacteria and bad bacteria. When we live and consume in a way that constantly feeds the bad bacteria, it has a major impact on how well we feel. (Read: the feels are awful.)
Have you ever asked yourself why more people get sick around the holidays than during any other time of the year?
It’s not just because it’s cold outside and we’re congregating more at parties and gatherings. It’s because we’re choosing to eat a lot more of the foods that feed bad gut bacteria. When the bad gut bacteria count is strong, our immune system’s ability to fight off a stuffy nose, a cough, or a sneeze is greatly reduced, resulting in more sick days.
When we make more of an effort to guard our digestive health (especially during the holidays) we set ourselves up to experience fewer days sick because of our stronger immunity to fight off any sickness we come in contact with. And since 80% of our immune system lives in our gut, you can clearly understand the need to give more priority to your microbiome.
Less Anxious Days
The first time I heard that my longtime battle with anxiety could have a direct connection with what I was feeding myself, I didn’t really understand it.
How were the foods I put in my mouth affecting the way my mind functioned? It crossed my wires – I needed a color by numbers illustration to keep it straight! Then I learned that brain tissue and gut tissue both develop from the same fetal tissue while in the womb, and it stays that way the entirety of our life via the gut-brain axis.
Wow. Knowledge bomb dropped and detonated.
The way I was to control my anxiety without hopping on medication was to control what I ate that instigated the anxiety.
To find which foods did that for me, I began to journal my emotions and feelings around meals. After 2 weeks I noticed a strong repeat: In addition to a headache, I would experience high anxiety and irritability that would last at least 4-6 hours after consuming a large amount of sugar.
This was back in 2014 when I was still primarily eating a Standard American Diet, so then a large amount of sugar was a bowl of pasta, or a couple root beers with a slice of pie, or a pint of ice-cream covered in chocolate sauce sitting atop a hot brownie.
Nowadays it takes a heck of a lot less to reach the same effect.
Sugar feeds bad gut bacteria that cause cognitive problems like anxiety, brain fog, and depression, but also other issues like yeast overgrowths.
That'll make you never look at a sugar detox the same again.
These issues alone give plenty of reason to care more about your digestive health as a woman.
More Productive Days (physical effects)
Gut health is probably the best-kept secret productivity hack there is.
If you want to be able to have time well spent instead of feeling fatigue, not being able to think clearly, and waking up wishing you could turn over and go back to sleep, it’s time you reconsider the attention you give to your digestion.
Poor digestion isn’t reserved solely for those with problems like IBS, SIBO, celiac, and diverticulosis. Gut dysfunction can manifest itself in the form of chronic fatigue as well.
Many people who are tired and fatigued on a regular basis find that healing their gut by making better food choices helps them to feel recharged. Wouldn’t it be nice to not feel like you aren't sloughing through the day completely drained? Or not need that double shot of espresso just to get through mid-afternoon?
You know you’re beautiful already, but how much more awesome would you feel not having to spend money on topical creams to fight off acne? Or to not drain your fun-funds on buying BeautyCounter foundations, concealers, cleansers, and toners to cover and erase constantly recurring blemishes and scars?
Or even better, wouldn't it feel great to walk out the house feeling flawless because your skin is so on point it only needed a little moisturizer? All you’d need to do is fix your hair and swipe on some eyeliner to bring out those gorgeous eyes, and voila! You’re on your way to slay the day.
Yes, your gut health affects your skin to that extent. Acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin issues are a result of a compromised gut. It’s nice to know there is a cause that you can do something about and no longer be a regular at the dermatologist.
How To Love My Gut
Immunity, cognitive function, physical wellbeing, and skin; your digestion affects them all. It also affects other bigger issues that I didn't elaborate on in this post such as hormones, infertility, and cancer.
Therefore, the best way to begin loving on your gut is to start with the obvious; clean up your diet.
A few suggestions:
- Find a beverage of choice other than soda
- Eat your vegetables at every meal
- Cut out processed sugar
- Start to incorporate fermented foods into your eating style (which includes finding a kombucha brand you love!).
If you want more help with where to start making changes for better gut health, sign-up below to get my free Gut Healing Health Kit that comes full of easy to use tools and resources to improve your digrestion.