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Feeling Weighed Down? Try A Gut Cleanse

Are you feeling a little…blah…lately?

If you feel a little weighed down – mentally or physically – it could be a sign that your gut is out of whack.

You may be asking what we mean. Well, let’s start by explaining what the gut does.

Why is my gut important?

First off – your gut is incredible! It’s full of bacteria – but the good kind of bacteria.

The gut actually refers to the gastrointestinal tract. This is also known as the digestive tract or your digestive system. Your gut (digestive system) is responsible for the digestion of all the food you eat, absorbing the nutrients available in the food you eat, and eliminating what your body doesn’t need – waste. Many parts of your body play an important role in gut and digestive health, including your mouth (when you chew food), your esophagus (when you swallow food), your stomach, intestines, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder.

But it’s not just about digestion! Your gut also plays an important role in your immune system and keeping your body healthy and free from harmful bacteria, as well as your metabolism and energy. Your gut is also in constant communication with your brain – the gut-brain axis – sending signals to your nervous system telling your body how to behave. (Butterflies in your stomach – that’s a result of your gut-brain axis at work.)

Diet and lifestyle are super important to maintaining a healthy gut and healthy gut bacteria.

How do I know if I need a gut cleanse?

Pay attention to your digestive system while it works. Are you feeling bloated, gassy, constipated or experiencing diarrhea? Abdominal digestive pain and irregular bowl movements may indicate something is off in your gut.

Have you noticed food intolerances or sensitivities, like a sensitivity to dairy products (lactose) or a gluten intolerance? These are also signs of digestive issues that may need to be looked at. You may also experience a skin problem as a result of some of these sensitivities, such as acne, eczema or psoriasis.

Other things that could be related to an imbalance in your gut microbiome include chronic fatigue, unusual changes in weight, difficulty sleeping, or changes in your overall mood and mental health.

While the body has a natural detoxification system in place, sometimes your gut can become overloaded and get clogged up or take on too much bad bacteria. This is when you’d want to clean it out. Think of your gut like a car engine – sometimes it may need servicing. And if you don’t service it, and clean it out, it could start damaging itself and other parts of the car…err, your body. This contributes to other health problems down the road.

Remember, if you notice any chronic symptoms, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor. It’s also good to speak with a medical provider before making any significant changes to your diet. If you are experiencing depression, anxiety or another mental health concern, it could be worth reaching out to a mental health professional for guidance.

How do I cleanse my gut?

Colon cleansing may be done for certain medical procedures, like a colonoscopy. But in a non-medical setting, there are some distinct diet and lifestyle approaches you can take to help reset your gut.

If you want to be able to trust your gut, then you should be sure you are looking after your gut too. These tips may show some positive benefits in overall health, vitality, and digestion.

Illustration of a man in a blue shirt drinking a glass of water.

1. Stay hydrated

 Drinking enough water each day helps your digestive system do what it needs to do. Your body is made up of nearly 60% water – that’s a lot of H2O! Water is essential in keeping every system in your body, your organs and tissues, working at their best. If you struggle to get enough water in each day, try adding a flavor enhancer to make it easier. True Lemon Fruit Infusions are a great for adding a hint of fresh-squeezed flavor and make drinking more water fun and delicious!

Illustration of a basket of assorted fruits and vegetables.

2. Eat more fiber-rich foods

Fiber is important to a healthy gut and promotes smooth and efficient digestion of foods. This helps make sure you have regular bowel movements. Incorporate plenty of high fiber foods into your daily meal plan, like fresh fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. These foods are all rich in gut-boosting fiber.

Illustration of blue bowl of food containing vegetables and other assorted foods.

3. Eat regular meals

Having one or two large meals per day can be a potential overload on your digestive system. Your body loves routine just as much as you! Eat regular meals throughout the day. But make sure they’re well balanced to avoid snacking between meals! Your gut will love the regular intake and breaking down smaller portions, but it does need some rest time, too.

Illustration of a woman in a green shirt cutting a cucumber on a kitchen counter. Other ingredients are in the counter such as tomatoes and eggs.

4. Eat mostly whole, minimally processed foods

Along with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, work in quality sources of protein and fresh foods that are minimally processed. The more we fill our body with fast food, ultra-processed foods high in sugar and trans fats, the more our gut gets clogged. Our body doesn’t know how to break down these foods properly, so we want to avoid them as much as possible.

Illustration of probiotic rich foods such as pickled vegetables, yogurt, kombucha, and more.

5. Incorporate probiotic rich foods

Probiotics are live microorganisms that benefit your gut microbiome. Fermented foods are rich in probiotics and help maintain the right balance of good bacteria in your gut. Fermented foods include things like sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, apple cider vinegar, pickled vegetables, sourdough bread, and kefir.

Illustration of a woman in a yellow shirt and purple pants sleeping on a purple mattress.

6. Sleep better

Getting enough sleep is important, but getting quality sleep will have a bigger impact. First, make sure you are going to bed with enough time to get a full night’s sleep. If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night, try a few sleep hygiene tips to help you wind down and rest. (See also: Your Guide to Reducing Stress.)

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