Between inflammatory processed foods packed with sugars and simple carbohydrates and general life stressors, our guts are all a little worse for wear. This is an issue because a damaged gut can negatively impact everything from your immune system to your mood. Luckily, one of the most amazing aspects of the human body is its ability to heal.
You can begin to heal your gut by making a few adjustments in your diet and lifestyle that will pave the way for better digestion, less stress, and a healthier gut.
1. Cook with gut-friendly ingredients.
Try adding good-for-your gut apple cider vinegar to salad dressings, or beets and parsley to grain bowls and sandwiches. Vegetables like leafy greens, along with ginger, cayenne, and turmeric are all great for nourishing the gut and firing up your digestion in the right way. Suja Drinking Vinegars also feature these digestive superstars in flavors like Peach Ginger, Lemon Cayenne, and Ginger Turmeric.
2. Get the right probiotics.
Probiotics are the good bacteria you want in your gut to assist in nutrient absorption and digestion. The key to getting the best probiotics for your body is diversifying your intake.
Try getting probiotics from a few different high-quality food sources like lacto-fermented sauerkraut, kimchi, kefirs, and apple cider vinegar-based drinks like Suja Drinking Vinegars, which use a highly stable strain of bacteria called GanedenBC30. A lot of probiotics don't survive in food or drinks, so being aware of the kinds of foods that contain strong probiotics is helpful.
Don't forget about including prebiotic foods in your diet, too (think: leeks, garlic, legumes, asparagus) as the good bacteria in probiotics needs prebiotics to feed off of.
3. Incorporate drinking vinegars into your routine.
Good quality drinking vinegars contain both prebiotics and probiotics. High-quality apple cider vinegar is fermented, giving it those good-for-your-gut probiotics, and contains soluble fiber from the apples, providing prebiotics.
Apple cider vinegar can also aid in the detoxification process, as the acid in it binds to toxins which helps with circulation and liver detox. By helping to rid the body of the bad stuff, drinking vinegars can also help boost your energy and immune system and keep heartburn in check.
Straight ACV can be tough to swallow, but thankfully brands like Suja now sell drinking vinegars mixed with cold-pressed juice that are as delicious as they are good for your gut—each bottle contains 4 billion live probiotics.
4. Drink water at the right times.
While it's really important to stay properly hydrated, both for gut and overall health, the timing of your water consumption is important, too. Drinking too much water immediately before, during, and right after a meal can impact your how your gut absorbs nutrients by diluting your natural digestive enzymes.
Drinking about two cups of water 30 minutes before a meal is okay and can enhance your sense of fullness. But try to wait at least 20 minutes after a meal before you have another glass of water.
If you do want to have water right before your meal, have a couple of sips of warm water with lemon or a drinking vinegar to get those digestive juices going.
5. De-stress the mind and body.
Meditation, breathing exercises, and yoga can alleviate mental stresses quickly and effectively. Once the mind is in a good place, it allows the body to relax, which allows the gut to function properly (it's all connected, after all).
Establishing a regular meditation and/or yoga practice that focuses on breathing and muscle relaxation can help to heal the gut by allowing time for digestive fires to begin working and peristalsis (the contractions that move food and waste through the intestinal track) to take place naturally and uninterrupted by typical daily stressors.
The combination of dietary shifts and a few lifestyle changes can work together to start healing the gut and getting your digestion back to feeling its best.