GUT AND IMMUNE HEALTH – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC, CPS

Hello Wellness Warriors!

During this health pandemic, and all throughout your life, please be aware of the importance of your gut/immune system health. We must choose healthy practices to support our immune system of which about 70% is housed in our gut. “ALL DISEASE BEGINS IN THE GUT.” – Hippocrates

Let’s look for a moment at the toxicity of substances we choose to eat. Research shows that sugar promotes inflammation. So, if we are fighting an infection or are having an inflammatory response, and we are ingesting sugar, it will fuel the infection/inflammation. We crave the neurotransmitter, Dopamine, which is the “happy hormone,” so we eat sugar to feel “happy,” which is a temporary fix, and the cycle begins. Please see below other natural ways to decrease cravings and increase Dopamine levels.

We know that sugar has zero percent nutritional value, it causes an increased risk for depression, and increases anxiety. Sugar crosses the blood/brain barrier, and causes symptoms that mimic disorders such as mental illness, ADHD, and systemic inflammation, including profoundly affecting the central nervous system.

We are in a health crisis that requires us to be extremely diligent about the foods that we are taking into our bodies. Healthy, organic (when possible) food sends messages to our cells that promotes wellness.

I would suggest trying to significantly reduce sugar intake, and if possible, easing it completely out of our diets.

I would suggest asking your healthcare provider about using a natural sweetener, such as Stevia, which does not raise our blood sugar level, or another healthy choice is using raw honey as an alternative.

At this critical time, try to eat plenty of greens, protein, and good carbs. You may eat healthy fruits with low sugar such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, honey dew melon, grapefruit, avocado, lemon and lime. You may also have a small piece of dark chocolate (I like to use one that is at least 80% cacao) about one ounce, which may also help lower blood pressure, and is an antioxidant.

Eat fermented foods and drinks as they are an effective way to eliminate cravings. Foods like Kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, Kimchi.

DRINK PLENTY OF WATER ALL THROUGHOUT THE DAY!!!

And…meditation reduces stress and definitely can help to relieve cravings, as well as increasing Dopamine. It is shown to change the brain by increasing gray matter in the auditory and sensory cortex. When we are stressed, cortisol levels increase which increases the blood sugar. This damages the adrenal glands, creates more sugar cravings, and we are on the proverbial “hamster wheel.” Meditation also aids in digestion and absorption of nutrients. Try a brief meditation before meals!

Good sleep hygiene is also imperative for wellness! Getting outdoors for at least 30 minutes per day, soaking in the Vitamin D, and walking, naturally raises Dopamine levels.

We also know that there is a definite correlation between having mental health problems and having gastrointestinal symptoms such as gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux, etc. Research shows that changes in the gut microbiome (“The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health. An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other disorders.”) and inflammation in the gut can directly affect the brain, causing symptoms and dis-ease that look like depression, anxiety and even Autism. Our gut also considered our “second brain,” is able to function on its own, and it also communicates with our actual brain! We call this the “Gut/Brain Connection.” Here, we understand even more thoroughly how the choices that we make regarding our gut health, immune support and the food/beverage choices that we make, either promote inflammation, or wellness, affecting our overall health.

Our mental health is directly correlated to our physical and spiritual health. The chemical messages that pass between the gut and the brain can be affected by the bacteria, fungi and viruses that live in the gut’s microbiome, which may be harmful, or may be harmless. We want to feed the good bacteria that live in the gut with foods and/or supplements called pre-biotics, as well as probiotic foods and/or supplements which grow the good gut bacteria. Choosing these foods and/or supplements will be bio-individual, so please check with your health care provider, or go to my contact page to set up an appointment for a health intake!

Supporting our immune system with healthy foods, healthy, nurturing relationships, positive thinking, financial health, workplace wellness/meaningful career, exercise, good sleep hygiene, and fun, laughter, and love, all contribute to good gut health, a strong immune system, and harmonious health 4 life! Although we may have pre-determined genetics that may put us at risk for dis-ease, if we are cognizant of these pre-determining factors, we can choose to implement healthy practices to manage the trajectory of our immune system, and our health!

For more information on how I can support you in reaching your health and wellness goals, and for a free 20 minute health consultation, go to my contact page on this website!

In order to serve you and meet your individual needs, I need to have much more information to safely accommodate your health and wellness needs and goals, including your medical history.

*DISCLAIMER* ALL OF THE ABOVE INFORMATION IS A GENERAL OVERVIEW AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS SPECIFIC CARE. 

I AM NOT A DOCTOR, AND I URGE YOU TO SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE MAKING ANY CHANGES TO YOUR DIET OR EXERCISE REGIMEN, INCLUDING MEDITATION.*

Please take good care of yourself, make mindful, healthy choices in adapting healthy practices that will enhance your wellness.

Love, prayers, and blessings,

Wendy