In the midst of the Coronavirus right now, having a strong and healthy immune system is more important than ever!
There are steps you can take to make yourself healthier, and I’ve got a great series that focuses on a super important part of your immune health: your gut!
There has been a LOT of buzz about “gut health” lately … and for a very good reason.
Your gut health doesn’t affect just your digestion (although that’s super important) … but also your heart, your brain, your immune system, and even your mood.
And with a global pandemic happening, it seems like a good time to focus even more on our overall wellness!
You have about 100 trillion (!!!) microbes living in your gut right now. And there are about 1,000 different species of known gut bacteria.
Did you know that almost 1 billion people across the world have a vitamin D deficiency?
That's a big deal, because vitamin D does so much to keep us feeling healthy.
Do you know how your vitamin D doing?
One big symptom of being low in vitamin D is feeling rundown and tired, along with catching every cold/bug that comes around. Feeling depressed and losing hair are also two common signs that you might be low in the "sunshine" vitamin.
Why Vitamin D is SO Important
Yes, it seems everywhere you turn health and wellness experts are telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables.
You totally get it.
Yes, they’re full, and I mean FULL, of nutrition (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.).
Yes, people who eat more fruits and vegetables live longer, healthier lives. Not to mention protecting their bodies and minds from just about every chronic disease out there.
If you haven't explored the Farmer's Market Friday portion of my website, check it out here. I explore the health benefits of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. I found it amazing as I researched that almost every one had special health benefits.
Yes, eating more vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight, and even lose some fat (as long as you don’t bread and fry them, or cover them with cream sauce).
Your question is not “Should I eat more fruits and vegetables,” but “How can I actually do it?”
A woman in a Facebook group I belong to posted a question about how while she feels much better when she eliminates gluten from her diet, she has trouble sticking with it past six weeks.
Initially, she said it's because she craves the density of foods like breads, and get really hungry, but with more investigations, it seems like she's just getting bored with what she perceives as a limited selection of foods that she can eat.
This really make me think of how when you change the way you eat, or eliminate certain foods from your diet, you really do feel like there's nothing to eat.
Read on. It doesn't have to be that way!
What's Hiding in Your Food?
How many times do you find yourself walking down the packaged food isle, making decisions based on what the front of the package says?
I remember as a kid, the cereal packaging was the worst! Thinking back I can feel the disappointment in my body, when whatever was supposed to be in the package, wasn't. Most often it was the free toy or whatever that was featured prominently on the front, but in reality it wasn't anything like the picture.
Or, the nice photo of the cereal with fresh fruit and a beautifully laid out table. "Why doesn't my cereal look like that?"
Processed foods have become even more popular for their convenience and portability. Toaster pastries, tubes of yogurt, cans of soda, individually wrapped slices or pieces of cheese are usually heavily processed and contain various additives and chemicals to preserve their shelf life.
The term "detox" is thrown around a great deal, especially this time of year when many people have set New Year's resolutions and many of them have to do with improving health. Detoxing can mean different things to different people. Some detox plans are beneficial and some may do more harm than good.
So let's explore the general intention of a detox and figure out whether it's the right thing for you.
How can you tell if you might benefit from a detoxification program?
What are toxins and how can they impact your health?
Toxins are harmful agents found in the environment. They can encompass anything from digestive and metabolic byproducts to environmental chemicals that can pass through and/or collect in your body.
The toxicity of many chemicals is dose dependent, meaning that they can have toxic effects if they're consumed in significant quantities. This can even go for certain foods, for example spinach, beet greens, and Swiss chard contain oxalic acid, which can block the uptake of calcium. So, it's wise to not eat too much of these foods, but they shouldn't be avoided entirely because they contain a lot of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Toxins can enter the gut through:
It's becoming easier and easier to identify toxins in your home and avoid them. I became more aware of toxins that might be present in my home environment and foods when pregnant with my first child. The childbirth classes I took emphasized avoiding toxins to increase your chances of a healthy birth.
During my pregnancy with my second child, I became especially aware as we were remodeling our home and had many decisions to make regarding carpeting, wood finishing, paints, and wood floor refinishing, While there were some resources, there definitely weren't as many as there are now!
Then, when I was trying to help my son heal from the heavy duty antibiotics he'd been on following a bone infection, the protocol that ended up helping, stressed removal of anything with artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, or fragrances. It was much harder than I thought, as even natural and organic foods, body care products, and cleaners contain these chemicals. It was especially hard because, he was school aged and exposed to whatever was used to clean classrooms.
I again faced frustration when our family was traveling for a time several years ago. I wrote an article how I was moved to tears when my laundry smelled so strongly of fragrance here. Looking back, I find it kind of funny that we travelled through South America with our container of fragrance free laundry detergent. And one Airbnb apartment we stayed at in France had so many air fresheners plugged into walls, or hiding here and there, that I was constantly gathering them and stashing them where we couldn't smell them. I had write an apologetic note to the host telling her where I had hidden them.
It might sound crazy to you, but once your remove artificial fragrances from your life, for better or worse you become much more sensitive to them. The benefits to your health, though, is worth it!
Should you take a supplement to improve your gut health?
My personal preference when trying to improve my own health is always to focus on the foods I eat on a daily basis first. In fact, I'm really not very good at taking supplements, although I do try hard to at least take my multi-vitamin and magnesium supplements every day.
When it comes to improving your gut health, the most important first step is to eat a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Sometimes though, if you aren't feeling well, you might want to do a little more to kickstart your gut health.
That's where supplements come in!
*As always, check with your doctor to verify dosages and make sure their aren't any contraindications for you. This article is meant for educational purpose and not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition.
Also, what works for one person may not work for another, so always do your research and pay attention to how you feel.
THREE TYPES OF SUPPLEMENTS THAT HELP IMPROVE YOUR DIGESTIVE HEALTH
1. Supplements that Support Digestion
What are polyphenols?
I'm sure you've heard plenty about the health benefits of polyphenols, but do you know what they are?
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plants. Polyphenols give plants a certain color or taste and they generally serve the plant by defending it against ultraviolet radiation and agressive pathogens.
Towards the end of the 20th century, epidemiological studies started showing that a diet rich in polyphenols may offer some protection from cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Reference.
What are the health benefits of polyphenols?
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Hi, I’m Crystal!
If you'd like to access my Farmer's Market Friday posts from 2018, click here!