Is Your Gut Making You Sick or Keeping You Sick?
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
If you are like me, you don't think much about your gut unless you get sick to your stomach. Did you know that the health of your gut is vital to the health of the rest of your body? Your gut contains a whole bacterial garden called the gut microbiome, and when you eat certain types of foods or use antibiotics, that garden can be thrown off balance. As a cannabis nurse consultant, I do more than educate and support medical marijuana patients. I am a registered nurse with additional training in our microbiome and how that affects our health and wellness.
The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes in the human body. That includes stuff like bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses that work to keep our bodies healthy. Unfortunately, most of us never think about that "gut garden" until we don't feel well or we have issues such as bowel changes or irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, gas, and bloating. What most folks don't know is that there's a host of other diseases or conditions that occur elsewhere in the body that are often related to an unhealthy gut. These include mood swings, sleep disturbances, anxiety or depression, migraine headaches, and some autoimmune diseases. We want to fix those problems, but most of us don't know how to get to the root of the issue. It starts with changes in your diet.
Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician 2,500 years ago, said, "All disease begins in the gut." He was right! When our gut bacteria are out of balance, our body is out of balance, and that leads to temporary illness. If it's left untreated, it leads to chronic illness or disease. The list of health conditions and diseases is massive, and it is only getting longer. I work with sicker and younger patients on a regular basis, including women in their 20s and 30s with serious chronic illnesses that have become debilitating and life changing. Our body can only take so many assaults before it breaks down and fails us. We don't have to stay in that breakdown cycle of sick care. We can work with our bodies to repair, restore, and revive.
What do we do to help that "gut garden?" We need to watch the foods we eat more than anything else. Everything in moderation is a great philosophy, but if you find even moderation causes problems then you need to stop. Your body includes a communication system. When there is something in your body that shouldn't be there or is not being processed well, the communication system (i.e. gas, bloating) is the body's way of letting you know. Your job is to listen and take the appropriate action.
Foods that can be bad for our gut include fried foods, artificial sugar, fructose, citrus fruits, beans, cabbage (and its cousins), dairy, and too much fiber. I would imagine most of these are no surprise, but we're usually encouraged to eat fiber, beans, fruits, veggies, and milk. Why would they be a problem? Our digestive system lacks the enzymes needed to break down these foods, so the bacteria in our guts must do the work instead. When that happens, the payback is usually gas and bloating.
Next, we need to help restore the gut's good bacteria and kill off the bad yeast. This is done with pre-and probiotics as well as anti-yeast supplements. There are lots of options on the market, but you should do your research or talk with a healthcare provider or nurse for more focused recommendations.
Finally, get moving every day. I'm not talking about extreme exercise; you simply need to move your body. When we are sedentary our body is not able to operate as well. Simple yoga, meditation with stretching, walking around the house while the TV commercials are on, or parking two spaces farther from the door when you shop are all activities.
If you want to learn more about your microbiome and understand how to restore your gut balance and gain control over symptoms, let 2 Leaf Nurses help. We offer nutritional and health coaching and have resources for top-quality, safe supplements that put you in control of your health. Check out the links below to two of our favorite supplement suppliers, and feel free to reach out to us for additional help.
FULLSCRIPT: Trusted by thousands of healthcare professionals across North America, Fullscript provides access to high-quality supplements at fair prices, backed by features that help you stay on track with your wellness goals. All supplements are backed by medical professionals and priced at MSRP or less.
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Looking for a cannabis nurse consultant to provide cannabis education services or to consult with you or a family member on obtaining a medical marijuana card? Let 2 Leaf Nurses be your guide. We provide a range of medical cannabis consulting and educational services, and you can book a complimentary consultation today!
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