You can eat all the healthy food you want and consume all the supplements given but if your lifestyle is out of whack then your health will still be disordered.
As we have spoken about before, health is holistic. There are so many internal and external factors that can influence the composition of the gut bacteria and ultimately affect your overall health.
In previous posts we have looked into diet and supplement influences, now it’s time to look at lifestyle influences.
Circadian disorganisation, can occur because of travel, shift work, diet, poor routines or other reasons, also impacts gut health and alters gut microbes..
- Get exercise daily – try exercise before dinner as exercising just before bed can wake you up.
- Bedroom Hygiene – keep the room cool, dark and just for sleeping and sex. Turn off technology hours before bed and even try for no technology in the bedroom.
- Get regular exposure to sunlight – where possible late in the afternoon, as the sun sets it promotes the production of melatonin which will help with sleeping patterns.
- Start a bedtime routine hours before bed – this may look like tech off, hot bath, dimming lights, reading or other relaxing activities.
- Avoiding caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and sugar – at night.
- Avoiding heavy/rich meals – late in the evening or if you do take digestive enzymes.
- Digestive Enzymes – Waking during the night and the inability to get back to sleep, can be diet related. Try taking a couple of digestive enzymes then you should nod back off again.
Studies have shown that exercise increases the diversity of the microbes in the gut. The opposite is also true, that sedentary lifestyle and excess weight are linked to decreasing numbers of beneficial microbes within the gut.
- Remember exercise doesn’t need to be hard and strenuous – sometimes yoga and stretching is just what you need. Listen to your body, sometimes it’s good to smash it out, sometimes it’s good to stretch and nourish.
It has been well documented that environmental toxins from cleaning products, fumes, makeup/skincare, perfumes/deodorants, antimicrobials, heavy metals, pesticides and so on can cause structural differences and alter the function of the gut microbes.
- Reduce as much chemical exposure within your home and your products as much as possible – stuck for which brands to choose? Checkout www.nourishedlife.com.au they sell all non-toxic brands, have informative reviews and have sales all the time. Keep an eye out and I’ll show you some of the products we love and found effective.
Smoking heavily influences and changes our gut microbes. These days e-cigarettes and vaping devices have become very popular, unfortunately the assumption is that they are not as harmful as they are “non-nicotine”, this is not the case. Studies have shown that the harmful effects of non-nicotine e-cigarettes cause damage and inflammation to the gut barrier.
While washing our hands is important, having an overly sterile environment does not promote diversity in your gut bacteria. And as we know, gut diversity is everything!
Due to disorganised sleep with irregular waking and sleeping times, random eating schedules, inadequate exposure to natural light/ dark all impact our gut and are a part of the shift workers life. All these things affect the circadian rhythm, causing the whole body and overall health to be out of whack. Shift workers often complain of many digestive issues, sugar cravings, bad breath, food sensitivities and mood fluctuations.
- Digestive Enzymes – especially during night shift (during the dark) to support adequate digestion when the body feels it should be asleep.
- Probiotic – take daily in the form of fermented and probiotic rich foods or if needed in a supplement.
- Stay Hydrated –when dehydrated our digestion becomes sluggish and oftentimes when we are tired we substitute water for caffeine. By making sure you keep a water bottle with you will encourage drinking more, limit coffee, drink more herbal teas and a big glass of water before caffeine.
This one is huge and deserves an article of its own (coming soon!) but in short there is a direct bi-directional line between the gut and the brain, called the gut-brain axis. So stress can alter gut microbes, including lowering significant beneficial lactobacillus microbes. Going in the other direction, changes in the gut microbiota play a significant role in moods, mental health and other various health disorders.
Not that we are travelling much at the moment, especially overseas, but even past travel to places with poor sanitary conditions can impact the gut even now, as past infections that go undiagnosed can result in long-term gut issues.
- Travelling – when traveling somewhere you are unsure about the sanitary conditions, always take a probiotic with SB strain.
- Sanitary conditions – If you have travelled to places with poor sanitary conditions and your gut has never been the same or if you have been working on your gut but nothing is changing maybe it’s time to look into Stool testing to test for any nasties (aka parasites etc).
Hopefully this quick overview gives you insight into the fact it’s not just our diets that are impacting our gut which in turn is impacting our health, it’s all facets of our lives.
So keep going, what seems little changes make a big impact.
Love Alissa ❤
**Always read the label. Follow the Directions for Use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase.**