A morning dedicated to gut health

Healthy digestion is essential for good health. It serves as a center point for nutrients to nourish our entire body and keep our immune systems strong.

Keeping our guts healthy isn’t an occasional practice, it is a lifestyle. It’s a matter of eating the right foods at the right time, keeping away from the wrong foods, being mindful and in tune with how certain foods make you feel, and proactive daily choices to keep our digestion working optimally.

With the main goal being balance, here’s what a morning of good-for-your-gut practices look like:

First thing in the morning
When we wake up, the ideal thing to do to kickstart your digestion and wake up your body is to hydrate and alkalize. After a long nights rest, our bodies are naturally dehydrated and acidic, so what you drink first thing in the morning should ideally balance this out.

Opt for a glass of water, a green juice, or warm water with lemon to kickstart your digestion and get those enzymes flowing. Hydrating with alkalizing liquids before eating solid food or downing a cup of coffee will do your body wonders.

Take your probiotics
Probiotics work best on an empty stomach, so time your intake 30 minutes before a meal (when stomach acid is lowest) to ensure that those precious living microorganisms make it past your stomach acid and into your small intestines.

Get in some circulation
While waiting for your probiotics and choice of morning beverage to work their alkalizing and digestion optimizing benefits, incorporate some light exercise that will get your blood pumping and to center yourself as you focus on your breath. Not only will exercise boost circulation, it also lowers digestion-hampering cortisol and raises feel-good endorphins.

While getting any form of exercise in the morning does the body good, one especially beneficial for gut health would be a yoga sequence that incorporates twists. Yoga twists are meant to aid digestion as the movement stimulates blood circulation and releases tension in the abdomen. The compression and release from twisting movements gives your digestive organs a flush of fresh oxygenated blood.

Time for breakfast
Breakfast, which literally means to break your fast, is the perfect opportunity to flood your body with nutrients first thing in the morning. Breakfast sets the tone for your body’s wellbeing the entire day so opt for a breakfast that’s healthy and filling, that will fuel your body with clean and long lasting energy.

Healthy breakfasts vary from culture and diet preferences, but the main idea is to eat something nutritious and filling. Be sure to get in all your macronutrients (fats, proteins, & carbohydrates) for a well-rounded first meal of the day.

Here are some healthy good-for-your gut breakfast ideas:

Avocado toast with egg and sauerkraut:

  • Spread some ghee, olive oil, or grass-fed butter over your choice of bread and toast lightly
  • Mash an avocado with a pinch of salt & pepper, a squeeze of lime, and a drizzle of olive oil
  • Fry or poach 1 egg
  • Top your toasted bread with the avocado mash and your egg
  • Serve with a side of sauerkraut

Green smoothie bowl

Blend together the following:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 heaped teaspoon almond butter
  • 1 serving of kefir or yogurt
  • Transfer the mix into a bowl and top with a handful of granola, seeds and/or choice of nuts, and fresh berries.

Warming Quinoa Porridge

  • Sautee diced onions, ginger, and garlic in olive oil
  • Add a handful of shredded kale and a pinch of salt and pepper
  • Add half a cup of quinoa, water/broth and simmer until cooked.
  • Top your quinoa porridge with any protein of your choice such as a poached egg, steamed tofu, shredded chicken.
  • Optional: finish with a squeeze of lime and garnish with fresh cilantro

Quick and easy chia seed pudding

  • Mix chia seeds with double the amount of coconut milk (or any milk of choice), 1 teaspoon of maple syrup, and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. Leave overnight in an airtight container
  • In the morning, top your chia seed pudding with sliced mangoes and toasted walnuts

To optimize absorption your well-earned nutrients from your healthy breakfast choices, we suggest taking a digestive enzyme supplement to get the most of your food.

Follow these simple morning practices to support healthy digestion and overall gut health.

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What happens to your body when you start taking probiotics

Probiotics are touted as a gut healing miracle, and for good reason. A probiotic can do so much more for your gut other than ensuring that you go to the bathroom regularly. Probiotics and digestive health are linked essentially to your overall health.

If you haven’t started incorporating fermented foods in your daily diet and started taking a probiotic supplement yet, you should really ensure that these healing micro-organisms are part of your lifestyle.

Do I even need a probiotic supplement?
Unless you have a perfectly working gut with no issues and digesting your food optimally paired with eating a fiber-rich diet with a good amount of fermented foods daily at every meal, mostly everyone needs a probiotic supplement and everyone (unless indicated by your doctor) benefits from taking one.

Modern lifestyles have shown that it’s difficult to get all the probiotics our bodies need from diet alone and the numerous digestive issues that affect many individuals compromise our digestive system and make it hard for good bacteria to thrive. Having a daily probiotic supplement helps to keep our gut microbiome balanced from unhealthy lifestyle habits (eating junk food, drinking alcohol, taking antibiotics etc.) and acts as a fantastic lifestyle addition for preventing disease and promoting long term health.

Here’s how your body benefits when you start taking probiotics.

1. Better nutrient absorption

Probiotics and their immediate link to digestive health is well ingrained into our minds, but what does this exactly mean? Simply put, these living microorganisms help our bodies break down food more efficiently in a way that makes it available for our bodies to easily absorb. This means getting more out of your healthy eating habits.

Both macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins) as well as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are better absorbed into your system with the help of probiotics.

2. Happier moods

Going beyond your gut health, you can look forward to happier and more stable moods when you start incorporating probiotics into your diet.

Research is starting to uncover that negative feelings such as anxiety can be relieved and even remedied by balancing your gut microbiome. The trillions of microorganisms living in your gut are linked to your your digestive system, metabolism, immunity and even the way your brain functions. Try increasing the good bacteria in your gut by cutting down on artificial and junk food, incorporating fermented foods, and taking a quality probiotic to help send your brain the right signals to keep you feeling happy and stable.

Boosting your gut health helps to protect your body from the damaging effects of cortisol, the hormone that is released when our bodies are stressed.

3. Stronger immunity

With the majority of your immune system being located in the gut, it makes sense that healthy gut function makes for healthy immune function. If your gut is feeling sluggish and bogged down your immune system follows suit.

When you incorporate probiotics into your diet, you can look forward to a stronger immune system, meaning fewer sick days and stronger resistance to infectious and disease-causing viruses, bacteria, allergens and fungi.

4. Healthier skin

Our bodies largest organ benefits too from the tiny microorganisms residing in our gut. This is thanks to the anti-inflammatory benefits that probiotics bring.

Skin conditions that show up on our skin as a form of inflammation can be lessened with the help of probiotics. Acne, dermatitis, eczema, rosacea and even UV-induced skin damage are all forms of inflammatory flare ups that indicate something off balance happening within your body; often traced back to poor gut health.

How to make the most of probiotics:

1. Take a probiotic supplement at least 30 minutes before a meal to ensure proper absorption. When you consume a probiotic supplement with food, you lessen the chances of beneficial bacteria making it to your small intestines because your stomach acid burns it off.

2. Incorporate these probiotic-rich foods into your diet:

3. Pair fermented foods with foods that are rich in fiber as fiber acts as a ‘prebiotic’ which feeds the good gut bacteria and helps them to flourish in your gut.

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Probiotic Benefits that Have Nothing to do with Digestion

Probiotics have taken the mantle of the most ideal supplement for good gut health. Needed by adults and children, healthy or unhealthy individuals alike, almost everybody can benefit from taking a quality probiotic. But did you know that these wonderful little living microorganisms do so much more than help us digest our food and regulate bowel movements?

The benefits of having a healthy gut, enhanced by taking probiotics, cascade into a host of other health benefits that seemingly have no interconnection with your stomach, but in fact do. Your gut health can make all the difference in your digestion, immunity, skin and even your mental health.

Apart from better digestion, here are some other amazing benefits probiotics can give you that have nothing to do with digestion:

1. Boosted Immunity

Did you know that a healthy gut has a lot of bearing on how strong your immunity is? Seeing as a large portion of your immunity is located in your gut (think your immune cells) an unhealthy gut pulls down your immunity as these two systems interact very closely and are interlinked in keeping our bodies healthy.

Probiotics enhance healthy immune function. This is why taking probiotics are essential as our immunity guards us against disease and infection.

2. Clearer Skin

Taking probiotics have shown that they can help clear your skin, especially where skin inflammation issues are concerned. The beneficial bacteria’s health benefits carry all the way over to your skin by helping improve issues like acne, rosacea, eczema and dermatitis.

Probiotics improve our skin thanks to their immune-regulating ability and lowering inflammation in our body. Inflammation and an overactive immune system are what causes various skin conditions like dermatitis to surface which is what makes probiotics such a good ally achieving clear skin.

3. Better Moods

Have you ever thought that taking probiotics would be good for your mental health? As it turns out, boosting your gut health helps in alleviating and preventing mental and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

This works through the gut-brain axis where probiotics carry a positive impact on the neurotransmitters that affect your mood, helps to regulate cortisol levels (too much cortisol can cause depression), and it helps your overall cognitive function and your ability to respond and recover from negative emotions.

If you’re not going through any particular distress in your life, yet you have unexplained mood swings or feel down, incorporate probiotics into your diet for overall mood improvement.

4. Less Allergies

People with allergies have a distinctly different gut microbiome from people who aren’t experiencing allergies. If allergies can ruin your entire day, incorporate probiotics into your wellness routine to lessen or even cure allergies.

Remember what we were saying about the majority of your immune system being located in the gut and that probiotics help to regulate an overactive immune system? This holds significance for dealing with allergies because having more good gut bacteria helps your immune system function optimally, meaning balancing out your bodies histamine response thus giving less severe allergic reactions and potentially none at all.

How to make the most of your probiotic supplement:

Keep in mind that probiotics are live micro-organisms. Encapsulating them in supplement form can be tricky business and it’s important to choose a quality probiotic that will actually make it past your stomach acid and into your intestines.

Opt for at least 30 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) to reap the full benefits that probiotic supplements have to offer and be watchful about the expiration date. Where probiotics are concerned, fresher is better as these live microorganisms do die out and you’ll want a fresh bottle to ensure potency.

Ideally, the best time to take a probiotic supplement is when your stomach acid is low. Try taking it at least 30 minutes before mealtimes or on an empty stomach (your stomach churns out more acid with food in it after all) to get the most of your probiotic supplement.

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