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focus on gut health

How to Reset Your Gut Health This Year

focus on gut health


The gut-brain axis is a powerful biochemical signaling system that directly links the gastrointestinal system with the cognitive and emotional centers of the brain. In fact, more and more experts are referring to the gut as the body's second brain.

What this can mean for many of us is that our thoughts and emotions can dictate how our gut functions—good or bad. So if your digestion is off, there could be more to it than disruptive bacteria or a food sensitivity.

So how do you reset your gut health naturally and ease digestion woes so you can get to feeling like yourself again? Here are some tips for both the body and the mind.

Reset gut health step #1: Get tested

We've all seen the commercials with the talking box—the one you put your poop in and send to the lab. While it's not a full replacement of a colonoscopy, it can tell you quite a lot about your gut health.

Comprehensive testing like this takes a deeper dive into your digestive health. When I recently received results from a GI-Map test, for example, I learned that I had very low hydrochloric acid, or HCl, which is essentially responsible for kicking off the digestion process. It became instantly clear to me that the food I was eating wasn't breaking down properly—which was leading to improper digestion and bloat. An HCl supplement and some high-quality digestive enzymes have kept me in check ever since.

While they can get expensive, tests like the GI-Map can offer answers and help you and your healthcare provider get to the root cause of what's ailing you. Traditional doctor visits and medications can add up too—and they often mask the issue rather than resolve it.

Food allergy tests can also be immensely helpful if you're experiencing gut health issues and can't pinpoint the cause. Often performed by taking and analyzing your blood, these tests can help you understand trigger foods that may cause bloating, abdominal discomfort, or irregular bowel movements.

If these tests feel outside of your cost comfort zone, a routine full-panel blood test can also tell you a lot about any digestive deficiencies you may have. Your healthcare provider can order a blood test easily, and it's likely covered by insurance.

Reset gut health step #2: Fuel your body

Eating a well-balanced diet rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and fiber-rich fruits and vegetables makes more of a difference than you might think. The Mediterranean diet in particular can offer some gut health benefits without making you feel like you're sacrificing taste.

It may go without saying, but avoiding inflammatory foods like gluten can also make a world of difference to your digestion. So can incorporating regular movement, so make sure you're doing something every day to move your body—whether it be walking, yoga, strength training, or just dancing around the house.

Reset gut health step #3: Ease your mind

A healthy, positive mindset is key to a smooth, well-functioning digestive system. The mind-body connection is immensely powerful, so it's important to pay just as much attention to what you put into your mouth as to what thoughts you let enter your head.

Give talk therapy a try, or start writing in a journal. Take walks in nature, practice deep breathing or yoga, and note any positive changes you experience as a result. You may be surprised to see that your digestion woes can dissipate when your mind is clearer.


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