Holistic Habits by Cheryl A. Mothes, Ph.D. Natural Health Nutrition Counselor (12)

We know that gut health is the foundation for better digestion, increased metabolism, decreased inflammation, and risk of chronic diseases. But how can we make it better? This week we will focus on some simple tips. Understand that gut health means overall health, meaning it is SUPER important in building your health and reversing damage that has already been done. First tip is, yes, like we always say, eat more whole grains, nuts, veggies, beans, and fruits. And remember the more variety, the better it is for our gut microbiome. Shoot for thirty different foods every week and go to mondaycampaigns.org for great recipes!

Though it is so basic, gut health is crucial to our well-being. Interestingly, Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, believed that all disease begins in the gut. So, we have known this for a long time! To decrease inflammation and the risk of disease, we are focusing this week on simple ways to improve your gut microbiome. Brushing and flossing your teeth frequently helps our gut! Yes, bacteria in our mouths get to our stomachs and cause problems with the balance of gut microbes. Brush after each meal and floss every day to boost your ability to prevent disease. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone!

All week we are talking about the ESPECIALLY important link to long-term health – the health of our gut microbiome. Healthy gut, healthy life, meaning it is critical to our overall wealth of health! In addition to eating thirty different each week, eating fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh will increase the beneficial bacteria in our gut. If you are not familiar with tempeh, it is fermented soybeans that can be crumbled up on salads or added to any hot dish. All these foods can be found locally, so power up your plantified plates with fermented foods and have a wonderful Wednesday!

Here are some additional tips for boosting the health of our important gut microbiomes: consume dark chocolate, red grapes, almonds, onions, blueberries, broccoli, and green teas. The powerful compounds in these foods improve gut health overall. Look for the 80% or higher cocoa content for the dark chocolate, as you will get too much sugar with the lower concentrations. Stock up your health on the shelf with these foods to live longer and live stronger!

Our last tips for boosting the super important health of our gut microbiomes are to help our good gut bacteria fight the bad bacteria by adding spices such as turmeric, ginger, garlic, and cinnamon to our foods and by limiting artificial sweeteners. Our gut is truly where all the magic happens to build the foundation of our health, prevent disease, and reverse diseases – you can start improving it today! Have a fantastic Friday everyone and if you have not already signed up for Nutritionfacts.org, do so today to get more of these useful tips!

And some powerful stuff from LAST August!

Yes, it is AUGUST, and did you know that August is Summer Sun Safety Month? It makes sense – but did you also know that plant-protective nutrients can function as internal sunscreens to help stop the harmful UV rays? Yes, antioxidants are powerful in protecting us from sunburn, UV-induced skin damage, aging and even skin cancer. The best foods to incorporate into our diet to provide the nutrients for that INTERNAL sun protection are avocados, carrots, dark chocolate, goji berries, grapes, green leafy vegetables, oranges, pomegranates, green tea, and watermelon. So, on this meatless Monday, load up on these great summer foods to protect your skin, but use an all-natural sunscreen too! Have a marvelous Monday!

Let us talk more about the power of plants: a large, 30-year study showed that those eating a mostly plant-based diet were 32 percent less likely to die from a cardiovascular condition, and 25 percent less likely to die from any other cause. They also found that if you move to a fully plant-based diet and stay there for one to three months, virtually everyone switched their taste preference to love those vegetable, fruit and grain dishes and stopped their cravings for meat and dairy products. SO, hang in there for just a few weeks so you can live longer and live stronger, and have a terrific Tuesday!

One of the best ways to make sure that we get the phytochemicals (that fight inflammation and boost our immune systems), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants we need is to “eat the rainbow“. That means deeply pigmented fruits and veggies in at least five different colors – it assures that we get ALL those great micronutrients and get them in the right combinations to work together. Remember that the magic of our health and immune systems begins in our gut, and our gut functions best when we eat a widely diverse array of foods – strive for thirty different nuts, seeds, beans, fruits, vegetables and grains every week. And have a wonderful Wednesday everyone and improve your wealth of health by eating the rainbow!

Yesterday we talked about the importance of “eating the rainbow” to make sure you get five dark colored foods every day – and there are apps for it! It is called Eat the Rainbow Food Journal, or Eat Five, or VegHunter. They will help you get a larger variety of green, blue, and purple, red, yellow, and orange, and brown foods we need! We know that our gut health is critical to our immune systems and preventing disease – and it is exciting to know that shifting to healthier plant-based foods can cause a big shift in our gut in less than five days. Great enzymes, probiotics, and prebiotics can be added to our gut to boost health and wellness. So, get one of those apps and live longer and live stronger everyone!

Let us talk more about eating the colors – meaning deeply pigmented foods to boost our health. Dark greens have cancer-blocking chemicals, are high in folate and calcium for stronger bones, muscles, and heart regulation – think spinach, green tea, avocados, asparagus, and kiwi. Blue and purple foods literally wipe out free radicals, boost our brain health, reduce inflammation, and delay cellular aging. Add blueberries, blackberries, black grapes, and eggplant to your shopping list. Red foods like apples, beets, cherries, red peppers, and tomatoes are rich in lycopene, a potent scavenger of gene-damaging free radicals. Yellow and orange foods are high in vitamin C and beta-carotenes, they inhibit tumors, detoxify our bodies, reduce inflammation, and boost our immune systems. Add apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, and mango to your day. Lastly, get lots of great nuts and beans to eat dark brown foods and gain healthy fat and protein, and to lower cholesterol. Power up your plates on this fantastic Friday by eating the rainbow!

References: Natural Awakenings, July 2021, and Darin Olien.com


Content is daily radio script from my KHIS radio spot – tune in at 6:15 (CST) every morning to Justin and Meredith’s morning show 89.9 FM.
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