Our bodies were made to eat what nature intended, but we have gotten so far from that with industrialization and our busy lives. We have settled for what is quick, easy, and convenient instead of what is natural and nutritious. Our Standard American Diet (SAD) consumption of packaged and processed foods is taking a toll on our overall health and longevity.
There was a time that babies were brought into the world with little to no exposure to toxins . According to a study done by EWG in 2004, the average baby is born with over 250 chemicals in their body that were stored and passed on from the mother. Essentially, we now start our life with a toxic load that only continues to increase.
The storage of toxins that continue to build over time is known as the “body burden.” The human body was made to naturally cleanse itself from toxin exposure, but the exposure has exponentially increased over time and has become too much to naturally detox without proper nutrition and preventative care. Toxic overload can interfere with fundamental organ and gland functions, specifically the gut.
Our gut microbiome is composed of a healthy balance of about 85% “good” bacteria and 15% “bad” bacteria. Bacteria are everywhere; throughout our environment, on our skin, in our mouths, and in our gut. It is estimated that 100 trillion good bacteria live within and on us, most of which reside in our gut, and we have to create a healthy environment for them to thrive so they can help us survive. These bacteria help our body break down food and absorb nutrients, and there is an increasing amount of research into how our “gut-brain axis” influences our mental health as well.
Bacterial imbalance caused from lifestyle choices and body burden can lead to overgrowth of the “bad” (pathogenic) bacteria inside our gut. Some signs and symptoms of overgrowth are:
When we reduce the load of toxins that we are exposed to, poor health conditions decrease dramatically. There are ways to optimize gut health through proper nutrition, decreasing toxins in the home, and using natural solutions to support digestion. The following steps can reduce the toxins in your body and rebalance your gut health:
1. Reduce the intake of processed and packaged foods.
Before you head to the store, make a list. Start shopping around the outskirts of your grocery store to find natural and organic foods. The middle aisles are usually riddled with foods that contain genetically modified ingredients, chemicals/preservatives, rancid oils, sugar/fructose, additives and more. Our bodies were not made to eat dead foods that are drowned in chemicals.
2. Drink more water
With our SAD, the most deficient elements of our diet are water and fiber. Major causes for poor digestion, absorption, and constipation is lack of water intake. Increasing water intake to half your body weight in ounces of water per day can naturally decrease constipation and help manage weight.
3. Drink 2 oz of apple cider vinegar (ACV) a day
ACV not only effectively stimulates the digestive system to help the body break down food, but it also contains healthy acids that can control the growth of unwanted yeast and bacteria throughout your body. Because ACV is fermented with a beneficial yeast, it can serve as a prebiotic for healthy bacteria, essentially helping good bacteria grow. It is best to look for an organic, unfiltered ACV like Bragg’s organic raw ACV.
4. Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods are naturally rich in probiotics and nutrients which strengthen the gut microbiome, can aid in digestion, and gut regulation. Suggested fermented foods:
5. Add doTERRA essential oils like spearmint, peppermint, fennel, ginger, lemon, orange or lime to your water throughout the day.
These oils have been shown to decrease inflammation in the intestinal lining, support the kidneys and liver, and stimulate the digestive system.
6. Use digestive enzymes, probiotics, and whole food vitamins
Digestive enzymes deliver a blend of protein enzymes to support normal digestive processes, to increased G.I. function and metabolic processes. Probiotics help increase the number of good bacteria in the intestines, which are necessary for digestive health. doTERRA's LifeLong Vitality pack consists of a whole food nutrient complex, omegas and essential nutrients that are bioavailable for absorption. This set of three nutritional supplements gives you the optimal daily dose of vitamins, minerals, omega 3, antioxidants, and essential oils, plus a vitality blend for digestive support and wellness.
7. Avoid antibiotic usage
Dr. Mercola’s article Five Strategies to Improve Your Gut Health stresses that “...following a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics, it could take weeks, months or even years for your gut microbial community to bounce back – if at all. During this period of imbalance, opportunistic pathogens can set up shop.” Instead, try using doTERRA essential oils to support your immunity like on guard, melaleuca, oregano, and frankincense.
8. Reduce inflammation
Decreasing stress and increasing the total number of hours of sleep can drastically decrease chronic inflammation throughout the body and the gut. Spend time to work-in through moving mediations, yoga, walking in nature, tai chi, etc. to increase the amount of energy in the body, instead of expending it.
9. Switch out the chemicals in your home
Our home environment can be one of the most toxic environments based on what's lurking under the sink, on counter tops, and plugged into the walls. Trade chemical cleaners and laundry supplies for more natural cleaners like wool dryer balls, distilled white vinegar, water, melaleuca, and clove essential oil to get the job done. Switch out the chemical plugins, candles, and air fresheners with a diffuser and good smelling essential oils. These switches are simple and save you $. You can find more ideas and ways to save using essential oils on doTERRA’s blog under DIY.
Healing the gut and reducing your toxic load takes time and consistency. So start by setting goals and applying one step at a time to slowly adopt these lifestyle changes for lasting results. If you find yourself stuck in the same bad habit loop over and over, or can’t seem to get the results you are looking for, it may be best to consult with a professional.
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