Your gut has an internal environment all its own and keeping it balanced is one of the best ways to maintain health. The microbiota, your gut bacteria, has a direct impact on your weight, metabolism, focus, sleep, and skin.
Your internal bacteria directly determine how many nutrients you are actually absorbing once you digest; as well as, influence your sensitivity to insulin. Your insulin hormone moves blood sugar and when this is done efficiently, your pancreas tells your liver to burn more fat and keeps your ghrelin and leptin hormones (your hunger and satiating hormones that tell you when to eat and when to stop eating) in check. When your hormones, pancreas, and liver are happy, you sleep deeper too.
An unbalanced microbiota environment can cause resistance to weight loss, fatigue, brain fog, skin breakouts, and premature aging skin. Building a better gut and rebalancing the good bugs can be a simple process you can integrate into your daily routine.
- Eat more plant-based and lower animal-based foods – the massive use of antibiotics to keep livestock healthy can affect your pH and bacteria balance in your gut. It’s best to rely less on animal-based foods especially red meats and have more omega 3-rich fish and plant-based foods in your daily intake.
- Add more probiotics to your diet – probiotics are live yeast with good bacteria that influence what your gut is churning. Top sources are yogurt with live cultures like Lactobacillus Acidophilus and Bifidobacterium, kefir, kombucha, miso, and sauerkraut.
- Strengthen probiotics with prebiotics - prebiotics are special plant fibers that help healthy bacteria grow in your gut and strengthen the probiotics which makes your digestive system work better. Top sources are apples, asparagus, bananas, barley, berries, chicory, flaxseed, green leafy vegetables, legumes, oats, and wheat.
- Limit processed foods – white starches and sugars actually make you hungrier and inflame your microbiota; this is one of the main reasons your body resists weight loss. Plus an overload of processed foods and empty calories can literally leak out of your gut and spill into your organs and out to your skin. Focusing on complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and unsaturated fats and limiting simple white starches and sugars will keep your microbiota from getting hunger cravings, making it easier to stay slim, energetic, and focused.
- Exercise – even 15 minutes a day can make a big difference for your gut health. Getting that heart rate up during a quick cardio work out helps keep arterial blood to your heart clean, burns carbs for immediate energy, boosts good bacteria, and helps lose and maintain goal weight.
- Snack better – snacks can be one of the sneaky downfalls in your day. Try healthy options in between meals that are small but satiating like this recipe.
Avocados! A great unsaturated fat source and keeps you satiated so you’re less inclined to over-eat; just one half of an avocado can decrease appetite by 40% over a three hour span. The fat they contain is a healthy, monounsaturated fat. Unlike saturated fats, monounsaturated fats reduce cholesterol and help you lose and maintain goal weight. Avocados offer Omega 3 Alpha Linoleic Acid, Folic Acid, Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium and Vitamins B, C, E, & K.
While guacamole is probably the most popular way to eat avocado, you can also puree and toss with pasta, substitute for butter or oil in your favorite baked good recipes, or spread or slice onto sandwiches.
- 4 ripe avocados, peeled & stone taken out
- 1/2cup cherry or golden tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons, parsley or watercress leaves, chopped
- Pinch of turmeric
- Salt & pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processer and blend until smooth. Serve with whole grain crackers or pitas and fresh vegetables like broccoli, carrot, and celery.
Makes four servings. Stores well in an airtight container for up to five days.