Rarely do we want to talk about or acknowledge our digestive systems; however, much of our over-all health begins with our gut! We should be eliminating at least 2 times each day. I can’t tell you how many people are shocked by this idea because they are closer to once every 2 or 3 days. Today I want to discuss a few life hacks to help naturally cleanse our systems and help promote better gut health.
Drinking lemon water any time of day is a gentle, yet effective way to support and cleanse the liver, kidneys, and colon. It assists in breaking up mucus and provides energy via enzymes, vitamin C, potassium, and trace minerals. Make sure you use fresh lemons, rather than prepared lemon juices. I prefer to squeeze ½ a lemon in 16oz of warm water & the other ½ in 16oz of herbal tea each morning (good discipline to start my morning and make sure I get the nutrients and gut benefits before the craziness of the day begins). One serving of lemon contains 51% of our daily vitamin C needs, as well as other vitamins and minerals. Lemons help combat stroke, cancer, and asthma. They can also help maintain a healthy complexion, increase iron absorption, and boost the immune system. Added bonus: due to their high mineral content, they are low in sugar.
Getting additional fiber is vital to supporting the colon in its role of toxin elimination. In addition to lots of fresh veggies, ground flax seeds and chia seeds are recommended. Try adding a chia shot to your daily routine (I prefer to do this after dinner and about 2 hours before going to bed). Add 2tbsp of chia or ground flax to 6 ounces of water. Let it sit for about 10 mins before drinking. The water will bloat the seeds, creating an almost gelatin-like mixture. I will tell you it’s not delicious, but it works great (just close your eyes and down it)! If you want a little extra flavor or want to feel like you’re having a treat once in awhile you can try this recipe:
6 oz Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Stevia individual packets
2 tbsp Chia seeds
Whisk it all together, until combined well. Place in fridge till ready to enjoy (wait at least 20 mins).
CHOOSE FRUIT WISELY
Many people think all fruit is created equal! There are 3 components to look for when buying fruit: the mineral content, fiber content, and sugar content. Lemons, limes, grapefruit, tomatoes, pomegranates, coconut and watermelon are high in minerals and fiber, yet lower in sugar. Sugar, whether it’s processed or natural, is still sugar and needs to be regulated. Sugar wreaks havoc on our digestive systems and is important to remember when choosing what types of fruits to enjoy. This doesn’t mean other fruits are bad, just choose balance and moderation. For example, don’t eat 2 bananas and 3 apples each day in the spirit of eating healthy. Yes, these items have vitamins, minerals, and fiber benefits; however, they also have high sugar contents. Even the fruits previously listed as beneficial options shouldn’t be eaten in high quantities each day. BALANCE & MODERATION is always important in any healthy diet!
CHEW YOUR FOOD
Stress causes the digestive system to dramatically slow and sometimes stop production. When we eat angry and/or rushed we sabotage our digestive system from working properly. YES, sometimes we are rushed to throw in some food so enjoying each bite might not be realistic; however, everyone has time to breath and chew. Take a few deep breaths before beginning your meal or snack. It literally takes seconds but can really help calm the body. AND THEN CHEW YOUR FOOD!!! Take the few extra seconds to take smaller bites and actually chew your food. SWALLOW and then repeat the process…try not to rush. This will really help support your digestive system in the breakdown and movement of nutrients and elimination of toxins.
These are only a few little hacks to try in your daily life. Of course, adding lots of green veggies and drinking at least half your body weight in ounces each day will greatly aid in a healthy gut. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming, super expensive, or super time consuming. A healthy lifestyle will however need to be thoughtful! You will need to think about your body, your health, your lifestyle and plan accordingly. The gut is often over-looked and not given enough credit for it’s support of healthy goals. I’m a big proponent of helping your body work for you, while enjoying all that life has to offer. Often, it’s a shift in healthy balances that cause our bodies to start working against us. A healthy, supportive digestive system will greatly improve your ability to enjoy life’s indulgences (in moderation), while still maintaining your over-all weight and/or fitness goals.