If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I am a huge proponent of gut wellness – having a balanced gut microbiome. But what does this mean?
In a balanced gut microbiome, there are more good bacteria than bad bacteria in your stomach and digestive tract, and bad bacteria don’t overtake the good. 98% of the bacteria in a balanced gut microbiome are good and aid in digesting your food, synthesizing vitamin K – the essential vitamin that supports bone health and blood clotting – and supplying essential nutrients to all your organs.
If more than 2% of your stomach bacteria are bad, the entire system gets messed up. You probably know of the most obvious signs of an unbalanced gut – stomach pains, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, and gas. But there are many other unpleasant symptoms that an unwell gut can lead to as well - many of which you might be surprised by.
Because your gut is the “supply center” that sends nutrients to the rest of your body, if your gut can’t do its job, your other organs can’t either. This is especially true of your brain. Some of the less-known signs of an unbalanced gut, therefore, include either sleep disturbances or fatigue, and unregulated moods - such as high stress, low mood, or feeling volatile. It is probably also not surprising that an unbalanced gut is correlated with a weakened immune system and more likeliness of getting colds.
Therefore, having a balanced gut is incredibly important. But how can you achieve this?
The single most important thing you can do to support your gut wellness is to eat a healthy diet. If you’re not sure how: Start with one simple rule: choosing what not to eat. Choosing to take ultra-processed out of your diet will create incredible results for your gut and overall wellness.
WHAT ARE ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS?
Ultra-processed foods are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats. They may also contain additives like artificial colors, flavors, or stabilizers. Examples of these foods are frozen meals, soft drinks, hot dogs and cold cuts, fast food, packaged cookies, cakes, and even mass-produced breads. Because ultra-processed foods have so many additives, they have much less – or none – of the nutritious vitamins and minerals that raw fruit, vegetables, nuts, and fresh meat have.
The biggest collective change to the human diet in our entire history is the advent of ultra-processed food. While humans have been preserving food in one form or another for thousands of years, these methods by and large preserved the nutritional value of the food. In the early 20th century, however, these methods became more severe. The increasing demand for convenience, longer shelf-life, and cost-effectiveness due to busier lifestyles and the advent of women in the workplace drove the popularity of ultra-processed foods.
WHY ARE ULTRA-PROCESSED FOODS BAD FOR MY WELLNESS?
Ultra-processed foods are disastrous for your gut. The flood of unnatural chemicals and additives without any nutrients to balance them out wreaks havoc on gut bacteria and intestinal lining and causes severe inflammation by constantly activating the immune system to fight these toxins.
This chronic inflammation can lead to diabetes, obesity, dementia, heart disease, hormone issues, depression, cancer – and just not feeling good. And that’s not even the full extent of the potential negative side effects. A 2019 study in The British Medical Journey found that eating a large amount of ultra-processed foods is associated with a heightened risk of all-cause mortality.
I know that given our busy lifestyles and the high cost of living, it is tempting to eat a diet full of ultra-processed foods. But for the good of your gut and overall wellness, I urge you to stop.
HOW ELSE CAN I SUPPORT MY GUT WELLNESS?
Moving from an ultra-processed diet to a diet of real whole foods will make you feel much better quickly. However, during that transition period, and even afterward, I suggest giving your digestive system the extra support it needs to truly thrive.
GuruNanda Digestiva Triphala is a natural, plant-based dietary support made of a blend of carefully selected botanical ingredients that work synergistically to create optimal digestive function. This formula can support anti-inflammation in the digestive tract, aid in the passing of gas, and offer antioxidant support – which you will need when recovering from an inflammatory diet.
Digestive Triphala is a regular part of my gut wellness program. It helps me feel better, both physically and emotionally. I encourage you to see if it is right for you.