No one likes to feel bloated and uncomfortable during a sunny beach day or summer afternoon BBQ. Unfortunately, summer’s fare tends to consist of large servings of meat and sugar (hello cheeseburger and ice cream truck) which, let’s face it, don’t do wonders for the digestive system. If your summer social life is anything like mine, the majority of events involve gathering around food which can be anxiety-producing if your body isn’t feeling up to par. If you can relate– do not fear!
The proper function of the digestive system is reliant on a healthy gut and microbiome. Improving your digestion will improve a myriad of issues including bloat, discomfort, nutrient absorption, and immunity.
Eat these two types of food to feel healthier– and more confident– in your skin this summer.
You’ve probably heard of probiotics– the live “good” bacteria that regulate the digestive system. To some, the idea of eating “bacteria” is off-putting. But here’s the thing– everything we put into our bodies is covered with and made up of bacteria, both good and bad. If the digestive system is overrun with “bad” bacteria– derived from sugars, artificial sweeteners, unhealthy oils, and hormone and antibiotic-laden meats and dairy– the whole body breaks down and may begin to experience symptoms including:
- Bloat, indigestion
- Anxiety & Depression
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Weakened immune system
- Weight gain
Unfortunately, most of summer’s frozen treats don’t lend well to gut health. But it’s easy to find a balance by adding a healthy dose of gut-supporting probiotics to your diet. Consuming probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis, perhaps combined with a probiotic supplement, will ensure that your digestive system stays sound all summer long. Try adding a few of these gut-friendly foods to your diet this summer:
- Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha
- Coconut oil
- Bone broth
- Garlic and onions
- Cultured dairy products
You may have heard of probiotics, but have you heard of prebiotics? The good news is that you are probably already consuming prebiotics on a daily basis without even realizing it! “Prebiotic” is just a fancy name for the indigestible plant fibers that probiotics feed on. So no matter how religiously you take probiotics, you must provide your beneficial gut bacteria with something to eat! Try adding a heavier dose of the following prebiotics to your diet to maximize the effectiveness of any probiotic-rich foods you are consuming:
- Leafy greens (like moringa!)
- Dark chocolate
- Ginger, turmeric & other herbs
- Healthy fats
- Cruciferous vegetables
- Raw garlic
A nutritionist once told me, “Heal your gut, heal your life.” 80% of the immune system is located in the gut, proving that gut health determines much more about our health than is commonly acknowledged. If your system is off-kilter, symptoms of imbalance will reflect across your body and cause lots of frustration as a result. The good news is that healing your gut is not an insurmountable goal, and summer’s fresh foods make it easier and more delicious to pave your way to health!