One size fits all does not apply for eating well
Our gut health is often overlooked as we go about our everyday lives. Little do most of us suspect that inside the gastrointestinal tract lies a microscopic ecosystem, hosting an abundance of bacterial species and their genetic material. This intricate system has enormous influence on everything from what we eat to how well-rested or energetic we feel – it even affects our emotional state!
Indeed, Hippocrates declared long ago: “All disease begins in the gut” – which makes sense when you consider inflammation, overgrowth or poor absorption can easily switch your body’s delicate balance off kilter. To keep healthy and happy requires more than just external attention; you need to peek beyond the surface for optimal wellbeing.
Healthy eating basics
Eating well is one of the most important parts to maintaining good health. But with so many rules and conflicting information on what’s best, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here are five basic guidelines that have personally worked for me in achieving optimal wellness: limit processed food; eat plenty of vegetables and some fruit; reduce sugar intake; don’t overeat or eat too quickly (chew your food); get plenty of fiber each day – a key aspect for digestion; lastly consider organic products when possible. Following these simple steps can go a long way towards setting yourself up for success.
Changing poor eating habits
Eating healthy is a journey, and it’s not just mind over matter. We’re all born with different sets of bacteria in our gut microbiome which guide how we metabolize food – meaning that what works for one person may be totally incompatible with another! Our microbiomes can even influence how much weight we carry or the effects certain foods have on us – going as far to say why some people handle diet changes better than others.
What you eat has a major impact on your gut health and wellbeing, so it’s important to notice when things aren’t right. Common signs of digestive discomfort can range from bloating, constipation or diarrhea to more subtle symptoms such as fatigue or “brain fog”. Recent studies suggest that the two-way connection between our stomachs and brains means how we fuel ourselves affects not only physical but mental functioning too! So if you’ve been feeling under par lately – it could be time to pay close attention to what goes in, so your body gets all its needs met – for optimal performance inside out.
What diet should you follow?
If you’re searching for the optimal diet, understand that there is no one-size-fits all solution. Your individual body may respond differently to various dietary options – why not take time to experiment, read up on research and monitor how your system responds? This could mean trying vegetarianism or veganism; Paleo, Whole30, Keto or low FODMAP diets; avoiding gluten and/or dairy; intermittent fasting – who knows what combination will work best when it comes to finding a way of eating which works specifically for you.
Consider consulting with health professionals who can guide you on an elimination diet or do testing if you have specific health concerns. Keep in mind, they may not have the answers. But with consultation, you can arm yourself with information and educate yourself about what to avoid or how certain foods may be affecting you. Ultimately, eating well is a process that may need to be tweaked to suit your lifestyle, genetic profile and the area in which you live. If Hippocrates was onto something, it’s worth the time and effort to get it right.
It’s more than just what you eat that matters for optimal digestive health. From stress levels to relationships, and even environment – your overall wellbeing is a complex web of factors with impacts far beyond the surface level. Science continues to investigate this gut-brain-body connection in order get insight into how our diet and lifestyle influence us differently from one another.
You have the keys to your own individual health and wellness, but it requires always paying attention – not just learning information. Listening carefully to what your body is telling you can be difficult at times, yet doing so will help make sure that you find the answers that work best for you. If you want some guidance on how to get started, give me a shout. I’m happy to share what’s worked for me and offer resources and ideas.
- Microbiome | Humans as holobionts: implications for prevention and therapy by Maarten van de Guchte, Hervé M. Blottière, and Joël Doré
- Nutrition Reviews | Defining the human microbiome by Luke K Ursell, Jessica L Metcalf, Laura Wegener Parfrey, Rob Knight
- Medicina | The Microbiome in Health and Disease from the Perspective of Modern Medicine and Ayurveda by Robert Keith Wallace
- Scientific Reports | Collective effects of human genomic variation on microbiome function by Felicia N. New, Benjamin R. Baer, Andrew G. Clark, Martin T. Wells & Ilana L. Brito
- Cureus | Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: Comprehensive Review of Diagnosis, Prevention, and Treatment Methods by Ted George O Achufusi, Anuj Sharma, Ernesto A Zamora, and Divey Manocha
- Clinical and Experimental Gastroenterology |Efficacy of the low FODMAP diet for treating irritable bowel syndrome: the evidence to date by Wathsala S Nanayakkara, Paula ML Skidmore, Leigh O’Brien, Tim J Wilkinson, and Richard B Gearry