It’s a trendy thing you see on social media or in the news: gut health. But what does gut health exactly mean and how does it pertain to YOUR health and breast cancer prevention? Keep reading, you’ll be amazed and intrigued.
At The Breast Cancer Charities of America we talk about whole person health—meaning body, mind and spirit and how we as individuals can prevent and survive breast cancer by taking our health into our own hands (in addition to the support of our medical teams). We’re BIG believers that it takes more than medicine to be well and stay well…and quite frankly, a good ‘gut check’ is a central point to start your personal wellness journey.
So much of what we put in our gut impacts our every living breath…from the foods that we eat, the liquids we drink, the sugar we ‘munch’ on and more…your gut health is a central component of wellness. Have you ever tracked EVERY single bite and sip you put in your mouth for a day, a week or even a month? (If you haven’t, challenge yourself…you’ll be amazed at HOW MUCH grazing of foods/sugary drinks you consume and that goes straight to your gut.)
Now I’m not talking about trying to get a 6-pack here (although I’d be happy to get a bit toned up for the summer)…but I’m talking about true gut health and what factors it plays on our skin, our organs, our weight and metabolism. Wrap all that up and look at the statistics…there is a LOT of scientific evidence that points out the factors that link weight/food/what we eat to breast cancer. Just think of it, if you could be doing something as simple as putting the right foods into your gut, you could reduce your risk for this horrible disease!
What Are The Secrets to Your Best Gut Health?
JUST DO IT! (No, I’m not a Nike ad here…but guys/gals/friends…gut health is MUCH easier than you think!) It’s not expensive, it’s not time consuming and it improves your health! Here are 5 easy ways to improve and jump start your gut health starting RIGHT NOW…
1. Drink water…and more water
Water is the best gut cleanser. If you’re not a water drinker, just start…set a small goal and increase it daily. I gave up drinking soda, sugary teas/lemonades, basically anything but water about 8 years ago. It was a health challenge. It literally changed my life. Gut health thrives on what is natural…get to drinking your H2O!
2. Take Probiotics
Don’t get scared at this word if it sounds way too ‘health nut’ to you…probiotics are in SO many things we eat (one of my favorites: natural Greek yogurt). Probiotics are what are considered to be the “good bacteria” to eat. And if you’re just freaking about all of this as a whole, go to your natural food aisle at your grocery store and you can purchase powdered probiotics to add to any food (and I promise you will NOT taste it!)
3. Up Your Fiber Intake
Load up your plate with foods full of fiber for a healthy gut. Fiber keeps your system moving and keeps the good in and the bad out. So many people have a negative connotation when it comes to the word ‘fiber’ (that it’ll taste like cardboard or is just for old people to worry about) but it’s for us all! Doesn’t matter the age. And it’s so easy to incorporate. I promise you that you probably like at least a FEW of the following food items that are loaded with great fiber: asparagus, strawberries, fruits as a whole, beans, whole grains, nuts, and TONS of other veggies. Basically, eat a plant!
We all know it. Regular exercise is just plain simple good for you. Not only does it help to ward off obesity, but it can help with keeping your body healthy and whole. 30 minutes a day…just 30 at minimum. That’s all it takes. Of the 1,440 minutes we each get every day, I think 30 to be spared for our health is a simple task.
5. Avoid Sugar
Avoid the sugar stash! I know, this may be hard to hear, but there is so much research to back the negative gut impacts and health (including breast cancer) impacts that sugar can have. And it’s not just pure cane sugar, it’s all the artificial sweetener’s that at least is fed into the US/foods that we eat in order to make them seem more ‘healthy’. One of the best natural alternatives I can suggest is a root called Stevia. It’s all natural and provides slight natural sweetness when needed to foods. You can purchase at Trader Joe’s (their brand is my favorite) or even on Amazon.