A chat with an expert who believes that “if you do not have a healthy gut, you do not have a healthy body.”
This week’s guest is Dr. Heather Finley, a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in sports psychology and a doctorate in clinical nutrition. She is a wealth of knowledge and is a highly sought-after speaker in the area of gut health.
Dr. Heather Finley takes a holistic approach in identifying the root cause of gut issues that may impact your quality of life. She shares her own struggles with gut issues while growing up which led to her passion for helping people find relief from all types of gut issues.
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A kid who always had ear infection and was taking tons of antibiotics which led to rashes and severe allergic reaction, this started Heather’s bout with gut issues. She spent years going from doctor to doctor to find a cure.
Her personal experience dealing with gut issues fueled her passion to “connect the dots” for people and help them heal through functional nutrition and integrated health.
Why does gut health matter?
Gut health is so much more than food and what you eat. Our gut is the command center of our body, the second brain, the powerhouse where everything connects.
“If you do not have a healthy gut, you do not have a healthy body.”
Common causes of bloating and digestive issues
- Imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut
- Not eating in a slow, relaxed manner – not taking the time to relax and enjoy the food
- Not getting enough rest or sleep
- Not taking time in between meals to give the body enough time to digest food
- Skipping meals or fasting for too long
- Too little or too much fiber
- Food intolerance or food sensitivities
The stress connection
Our gut and our brain are connected through the Vagus Nerve, which is why a lot of people with gut issues also struggle with anxiety and depression and other mood-related issues. If you cannot control stress, anything that you do for your gut is not going to work.
Are you making these mistakes in trying to heal your gut issues?
- Restricted diet. Your gut needs variety and need lots of fiber which you do not get by eating the same type of food over and over
- Relying on supplements alone. You should focus on healing the root cause instead of just taking in a bunch of supplements
Should you take Probiotics?
You can’t just just take probiotics to heal your gut issues. You don’t just blindly throw them in without addressing the underlying causes or it’s going to be like “throwing fire with fire.”
Probiotics are strain-specific. You really have to understand what’s going on before taking them.
Do fermented foods help with gut issues?
Fermented foods are a great addition to one’s diet and a great way to boost nutrition. But then again, you have to understand the underlying cause for your gut issues. Eating fermented foods may be beneficial for some, but not very helpful when you have gut issues. Kimchi, fermented sauerkraut, fermented pickles are some of the fermented foods you can add to your diet.
“Goodness gracious! Love me some fermented sauerkraut!”
What causes constipation?
Constipation never feels good! Most people think that the main cause of constipation is not getting enough fiber. If you have gut issues, it can be deeper than that and might actually be due to motility issues.
Motility is the contraction and movement of your digestive tract muscles. Stress, not sleeping enough, negative mindset towards food, chronic laxative all affect motility.
SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Growth) or underlying gut issues also cause constipation. Another cause is eating too much fiber but too little water.
Practical tips to relieve constipation
- Singing very loudly
- Include more fiber and drink plenty of water
- Gut massages
Healthy eating for your gut health
Gut health eating is eating in a way that is not stressful, but creates structure to help balance the nutrients you take each day, allowing you to achieve overall health and live your best life.
Focus on diversity in food. Dr. Heather Finley mentions eating 30 different plants in a week. Less restriction.
Eat your plants, colorful fruits and vegetables – those are the top tips for gut health.
Want to find out more about gut health?
Dr. Heather Finley’s info: