The ABCs of Gut Health: 3 Tips to Improve Your Digestion
Dr. Getzelman, a holistic pediatrician and the founder of GetzWell, recently gave a series of talks on how gut health is foundational to overall health.
“What we eat and the bacteria inside our gut provide vital information to various body systems like the immune system and hormone systems,” Dr. Getzelman explained during an Instagram Live session this past May. To improve your digestion and keep your gut happy, read about Dr. Getzelman’s three simple reminders for naturally improving gut health.
“ABCs of Gut Health” for Everyday Wellness
Improve your digestion by prioritizing gut health. Gut health often refers to the balance of good bacteria in your GI or gastrointestinal tract. Scientists estimate that there are 100 trillion bacteria in your gut interacting with your nervous system and your immune system every day. So by taking care of the good bacteria in your gut, you take care of your whole body.
Remember and incorporate these ABCs into your daily routine to support a healthy microbiome in your gut.
A – Apples Support Good Bacteria
Apples are excellent for feeding good bacteria living in your belly. They are rich in polyphenols, fiber, and vitamin C. So it’s true—what you eat matters!
Polyphenols are antioxidants that support the lining of the gut and the immune system. Essentially, 75% of your immune system is in or near your GI tract, and polyphenol-rich foods like apples can keep you healthy in a myriad of ways. For example, the skin of an apple contains pectin which is a type of fiber that serves as a prebiotic. Prebiotics are like fertilizer that help feed the healthy bacteria in the gut.
Dr. Getzelman recommends organic apples so you can eat the skin, get that vital pectin, and limit exposure to pesticides.
B – Good Bacteria Are Your Friend
“Bacteria make up four pounds of an adult’s body weight,” Dr. Getzelman explained in her GetzWell Pediatrics Instagram sessions. “We’ve co-evolved with these single-cell organisms for hundreds of thousands of years,” she says.
These bacteria offer a “microbial interaction system” that helps your body adapt to environmental changes. “Bacteria communicate with the immune system, so strengthening your kids and your own microbial interaction systems is really important,” Dr. Getzelman highlights.
Here are a few actions that support those good bacteria:
- Having a vaginal birth
- Nursing babies with breast milk
- Eating a whole foods diet and minimizing processed foods
- Reducing sugar and alcohol intake
- Increasing probiotic and prebiotic uptake
- Adding rich sources of Omega-3s and Vitamin D
C – Keep Calm and Rest On
To keep it simple, Dr. Getzelman reminds her patients “when you rest, you digest.” Resting and relaxation help your nervous system enter a parasympathetic state, which helps your body release digestive fluids like acid and enzymes, break down food, and absorb nutrients.
Resting can help reduce constipation in kids by optimizing motility. To promote the “rest and digest” stage, Dr. Getzelman recommends:
- Sitting for meals
- Practicing mindfulness before eating to register what we are eating and encourage the gastrocolic reflex
- Adding a few belly breaths to active the vagus nerve and promote digestion
- Chewing food thoroughly
- Adding plant fibers to every meal–especially from the plants that support the trillions of bacteria in your body
If you live a high-stress life, consider prioritizing a few restful moments throughout your day. Can you add a round of deep belly breaths and stretching breaks to your mid-morning break? Can you reduce screen time before bed? Is there a place where you can sit in nature?
When you give your body a chance to rest, you help your entire body digest and receive the nutrients you need to thrive.
Stay Healthy with a Gut Health Protocol
Remember and incorporate those ABCs—apples, bacteria, and calm. Your gut and your body will thank you for it.
To add an easy gut health protocol into your life, Dr. Getzelman created a supplement package for those 3 years and up. To learn more, view and order the gut health supplement package or contact Dr. Getzelman directly to find the right package for your health.