Morning Routine for Gut Health

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Maintaining a healthy gut is vital for overall well-being, as it plays a crucial role in digestion, immunity, and mental health. A morning routine focusing on gut health can set the tone for the rest of the day, promoting a balanced and vibrant lifestyle. Here are some key practices for a morning routine to nurture your gut.

  • Hydrate with Warm Lemon Water: Start your day by hydrating your body with a glass of warm lemon water. This simple yet effective step aids digestion, helps flush out toxins, and supports the liver’s natural detoxification processes. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which improves the immune system and helps maintain the gut lining. Sip on this refreshing beverage before consuming food to kickstart your digestive system.
  • Mindful Eating and Fiber-Rich Breakfast: Practice mindful eating by enjoying a nourishing, fiber-rich breakfast. Include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and probiotic-rich options like yogurt or kefir. Fiber supports healthy digestion by promoting regular bowel movements and feeding beneficial gut bacteria. Probiotics introduce friendly bacteria to the gut, enhancing its microbial balance. Avoid processed and sugary foods, as they can disrupt gut flora and contribute to inflammation.
  • Embrace Fiber-Rich Foods: Next, opt for a nourishing breakfast that includes fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and seeds. Fiber works as a prebiotic, nourishing the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Add chia seeds or ground flaxseeds to your meal for an extra fiber boost. These foods help regulate bowel movements, reduce inflammation, and promote diverse gut microbiota.
  • Include Probiotic-Rich Foods: Incorporate probiotic-rich foods into your morning routine to introduce beneficial bacteria into your gut. Options like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics. These live microorganisms help maintain a healthy balance in your gut microbiome, support immune function, and enhance nutrient absorption. Experiment with different fermented foods to find what suits your taste buds best.
  • Gentle Movement and Exercise: In the morning, engaging in gentle movement or exercise energizes your body and supports gut health. Physical activity stimulates bowel movements, reducing the risk of constipation. It also enhances blood flow to the digestive organs, promoting optimal nutrient absorption and gut motility. Incorporate activities such as yoga, stretching, or a brisk walk to awaken your body and aid digestion.

A morning routine that prioritizes gut health sets the foundation for a thriving body and mind. Embrace these practices to optimize your well-being and vitality throughout the day. Start your day right and reap the benefits of a happy, thriving gut.

Here we discuss this with Dr. Risha, a naturopath, to get her thoughts on this topic.

Gut-Brain Connection

NourishDoc: Hello, everyone, and happy Friday. Well, we know that we have a second brain in our gut, and the gut is now connected with our brains. So keeping our gut health is critical and must be balanced. So that’s what we are talking about today some simple tips or simple daily rituals that you can do to keep your gut healthy. To talk about this particular topic, I have Doctor Risha. She is a naturopath and an Ayurveda doctor who has been working internationally. Welcome, Doctor Risha.

Dr. Risha: Hi, Amita. Good morning. Good morning from India.

Good Gut Health For Holistic Wellness

NourishDoc: Let’s dive into the topic and whatever your thoughts are.

Dr. Risha: Yeah, so as we know, whenever we talk about holistic health and well-being, the first thing that anybody who knows about holistic wellness is that we are all about gut healing and gut health. So, it’s a process that you need to do daily. It’s not like you wait for something to happen, then switch to things that help you heal your gut or keep it healthy. So this topic revolves around what you can do on a daily basis to help your body and maintain a healthy gut.

So I think one of the very important things I keep telling my patients daily is that we eat food thrice. So make sure whatever food you are taking has some form of fermented food with natural probiotics. If you talk about Ayurveda, there is much discussion about Takra or buttermilk, which people can take daily; even a lot of people with lactose sensitivity are okay with that, so the inclusion of probiotic foods in your meals is very important.

I have seen people who add this step to their diet; it makes much difference to their health, be it bloating, infections, or skin problems; it all with the gut and the moment you start adding good bacteria to your diet. You may not have to take capsules straight away. You can manipulate your diet accordingly, and providing food is something. I think that is a really good ritual that anybody can follow effortlessly every day: being a little more conscious of your food choices.

So kimchi, if you are from Southeast Asia, sauerkraut, like the German seed a lot, and if you are an Indian buttermilk or our homemade achars and pickles. All of these are fermented food that is very rich in probiotics. The other thing is a very simple thing that people, I think, tend to forget many times is drinking enough water if you have especially constipation issue; many times, we see that there is a problem with the water intake, and you need to maintain at least two liters of drinking 2 and 1/ 2 liters of water per day.

There are many theories about how to drink five liters of water daily or maybe wake up and drink two liters immediately. I don’t want to go crazy on those things for anybody because everybody’s body and metabolism are different, and drinking water should be kept simple. So simple habit of drinking at least two liters of water a day can make a difference to your gut, and if you start doing it first thing in the morning, you drink at least 500 ML of water. I think you are good to go for the rest of the day.

The third thing is that you must identify what type of pattern your gut follows like some People tend to get constipated easily. For others, it is the loose tool version, like when they eat something wrong or are stressed out or anything, they either get constipated or lose they start having loose bowel movements. So accordingly, you have to maintain your gut. So this includes three and four rituals.

So if you get constipated, you have to have habits like identifying how much fiber you need, including fruits in your diet, and also, if needed, if you are dependent on laxatives and all you need to identify if your bowel is sluggish or not like if you have diabetes or have thyroid issues you may have other sluggish bowels as well so you need to work around those issues and identify your problem like if you are the constipated type you work around it, if you are the diarrhea type, work around the loose motion issue, also on the root causes of it.

Sometimes there are gut infections because of which these problems occur. Hence, it would help if you worked around changing your diet daily. Then we come to herbals, so Ayurveda is all about herbal medicine. We have so many gut-related specific herbals for specific health conditions. But there are some herbs that people can take daily as most people can take, like Giloy or Guduchi, we say. There is Harad, who in Ayurveda is called the mother of all herbs and takes care of the gut like a mother.

So Haritaki powder is something that people can include in their diets to maintain a healthy gut as a daily ritual. besides, there is Amla which has a lot of vitamin C, and there is much research on Amla or which you call Indian gooseberry, and this improves the secretion of IGG antibodies in our gut. So it also helps regulate our immune system, so herbs like that work on our immune system through the gut help regulate the gut daily and are very helpful if they are included in a diet as a part of daily ritual.

Then we come to supplementation; like some people, there are lots of products in the market, and every day one or the other person would ask me what I should take for my gut to maintain a very healthy environment or something as if you would ask me is there a secret word healthy gut. So, there is no secret, but you have to find your secret. So, what is that thing that works for you? You have to find that option first of all.

So, supplements, from glucosamine to glutamine to glyphosate, are so many things like vitamins and minerals available in the market. However, for a layperson, I would suggest B complex vitamins if you want to start with one thing. Many people are deficient in them, and if you are a vegetarian, chances are you also have a deficiency of B12. So meeting up with your deficiencies should be the first step towards supplementation.

So, start taking your vitamin supplements first of all. You can also identify your diet deficiencies by working with your positive practitioner and then make up for those deficiencies before you go on to more repair stuff or detox stuff. Another very important thing that I want to say here is that every time somebody thinks about gut health, they start doing toxins which I think is very wrong because many times if you’ve never had detox experience in the past. You are too toxic; you can have a very bad reaction.

The reason is that you either have many deficiencies or are too sick, and your body cannot take that detox. So, we need to take things slow in that regard. Don’t just jump to detoxes whenever you feel like your stomach is not feeling well or you are chronically constipated; you have to take things slow, sometimes. So, supplementation is very handy, but you must be careful. Then we come to exercise.

So, there are many yoga poses that you can do to maintain a very healthy gut. Then again, it is very specific to sometimes issues related to the gut like if you have IBS, do certain things; if you have gas, bloating issue, do something else, and then if you have infections, you need to avoid certain causes and then do something else so, exercising a very important part of gut health because when you move around, your intestines move, your juices are secreted in a better way, the way your body is releasing enzymes in your food also gets affected.

So it’s very important that you make exercise an important part of your routine to maintain your gut. Many studies suggest that exercising can help improve insulin sensitivity. It can help improve PCOS conditions in women dealing with it, and there are short-term effects, then long-term effects. Then you work on high-intensity interval training when discussing sensitivities and things like that. All this starts with healing the gut.

So, it’s important that you identify the kind of exercise that works for your body, and then I make it a part of your routine to do gentle yoga; sometimes, maybe include a few strength training sessions in your weekly routine you don’t have to like everybody does not aim to have a chiseled body. You can use just what your aim should be to have a fit body that is a bit mine.

So for that, you need like 30 minutes every day for at least five times a week, and this is a rule that I think everybody should follow, and post-pandemic, I think we all are caught up with this staying-at-home situation which still hasn’t fully unwinded in many countries so exercising for at least 30 minutes as a ritual has become essential for our bodies. So this makes it for about eight points here. Regarding the last two points, I would like to include stress management here; many people don’t understand the connection between the gut and our brain and vice versa.

So every time somebody gets stressed, sooner or later, the gut gets affected, and some people are genetically inclined to it, so they start seeing the changes right away; for others, it takes time. So If I tell you this today and you start noticing it from today onwards, you will realize that there are certain situations when you are in, when you feel triggered or when you feel stressed out, when you are sleep deprived, or you’ve had a heated argument with somebody, many people get nervous, diarrhea because of the same reason, performance pressure and things like that.

How Stress Affects Gut Health

So, there is a looper, the gut-brain access. Much functional medicine nowadays talks about how stress and your gut affect each other and vice versa. So you have to work around managing that day-to-day stress. The funny part is that many people don’t know that they are very stressed and feel like it’s an everyday thing; I do it every day. I work every day for 12 hours. Nothing new. Why should I be stressed? This is the most important thing to understand. You are adding stress to your body daily; just because you haven’t broken down yet doesn’t mean you are not stressed.

So, you have to identify the kind of stresses you are dealing with daily based on your lifestyle, your work profile or triggers that you have every day in your life, the type of work environment you have, your family life, relationships, things like that, physical stress, emotional stress. You need to work on that daily to manage your stress, and then because that can affect your that, and the most simple thing people can do to manage that stress is just breathing exercises, you can go to bed. I tell people that every time we talk about relaxation techniques, people think, ” Oh, it’s meditation, so how can I do it? I cannot concentrate.

So, one of the things is that it takes time, and only the simplest thing you can do to meditate or unwind at the end of the day is to do breathing exercises for four to 5 minutes. Start with one or two minutes if you cannot sit and focus, then extend that period to five to 10 minutes. Then you will start seeing the difference in the quality of sleep, in how your bowel is moving, and in how you perceive life in general.

These are the long-term effects of practicing mindful breathing every day. You don’t have to become a yogi to do that. You have to have some simple 5 minutes habits every day that can help heal your gut and manage your stress. Lastly, I want to talk about a basic no-brainer thing: avoiding junk food, food-like substances, packaged foods, sugar-loaded foods, salt-loaded food, and everything available over the counter loaded with preservatives.

So be mindful of your choices whatever food you buy from the market, Even if it’s packaged. Learn to read labels. Learn to read your food levels. Learn to identify what they mean; sugariness, for instance, is hidden under 200 names according to a study in packets, and we have no idea about it. So, the food industry is very good at fooling us. So, by now, everybody knows you should avoid sugar in your food.

So, they have started hiding it under different names. People have no clue what this is, nothing but sugar in the form of corn syrup, aspartame, or things like that. Even artificial sweeteners are more harmful than natural or regular white sugar. So, be very mindful of your day-to-day food choices, what you eat, and what you put in your body. I think this should be the first as well as the last step towards managing your gut health on an everyday basis.

So these are, I think, some of the rituals that if people follow, we can avoid many day-to-day things. These rituals, I think, make you aware of your gut health because most people mean those who are not from this line of work or who are not oriented towards keeping themselves fit daily unless and until they fall sick. They tend to be unaware of what they should do daily to manage their gut health. So this is something that is very, very basic everybody can follow. You don’t need a prescription for this like you do these ten things, and you manage many gut issues daily.

Daily Rituals For Good Gut Health

NourishDoc: These are great tips that we overlook, right? We need to bring these simple things into our daily rituals or routines, as Ayurveda talks about in dinacharya, right? It has a very serious task that you’re supposed to do, and if you do that, you will be overall healthier. Thank you so much, Dr. Risha, for sharing all these simple tips with everyone. We should try all the tips she’s talking about; very straightforward to incorporate all the simple things she’s talking about. Stay tuned. Please keep supporting us. That’s all I want to say, and have a great weekend. Anything else you want to add, Dr. Risha? You’re welcome to say.

Dr. Risha: Happy Holi from my side. It was a big festival yesterday in India. So, happy Holi to all the Indians worldwide or anyone who celebrates Holi and stays healthy; take care of your gut. This is where all the problems start, and you have to; this is a daily practice, keeping, taking care of yourself is a day, daily practice; it’s a work in progress, it’s not a destination, so keep working on it, becoming, become more aware of your issues and that is the first, I mean, that’s the only way you become healthier along the way.

NourishDoc: All right, well, thank you. Happy Holi to all followers from India. We have quite a few of them. So, thank you so much for supporting us.


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