By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS
The gut is something that we still don’t completely understand, but from what studies show thus far, the gut is the center of the immune system and apparently, the key to improving your fitness. It has been shown to be linked to insulin/leptin resistance, type 2 diabetes and obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and depression. Just to name a few. But in regards to your fitness, have you ever even considered a gut health diet to get out of that plateau?
Most people don’t. They usually turn to their diet or switch up their nutrition plan, but in reality, the problem is usually their gut. The health of your gut is your secret weapon to improving your fitness.
Bacteria live in our gut, and the good gut bacteria is very important in keeping your health and fitness. Studies show that just by making sure your gut microbiome is healthy, you can lose weight without changing much else. It also can increase your stamina and strength.
Here’s how to take care of your gut so you can get the most out of your health and fitness:
You can be eating the healthiest diet in the world, but your body still might not be getting the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals your body needs to produce the necessities of an effective workout. The proper amount of good gut bacteria allows your intestinal wall to absorb everything you need from the food you’re consuming. This is extremely important as you eat for energy before a workout—and leads perfectly into our next topic: post-workout recovery.
The post-workout recovery is the most important thing you can do after a workout to ensure that our efforts in the gym don’t go to waste. Your body works hard to repair everything you broke down in the gym and works on balancing your hormones and blood sugar back to homeostasis.
Studies show certain types of good gut bacteria can be specialized in your gut depending on what type of exercise you perform regularly. Fitness junkies who like to sweat in the weight room have a large number of bacteria that help with muscle maintenance, metabolism, and the processing of lactic acid (which is a byproduct of muscle breakdown).
By using a prebiotic and probiotic, like this combo supplement from MAV Nutrition, it can help your microbiome follow through with all the processes it needs to in order to recover properly, keep your blood sugar levels stable, and support nutrient absorption for maximum recovery.
Avoiding antibiotics when you need them for an illness is almost impossible; this we understand. But by taking care of your gut health, which as we know is linked to your immune system, you hopefully won’t be sick often. But, there are many antibiotics that our world pumps into the food we eat like milk and most animal products. Make sure to avoid these and look for antibiotic-free foods that will disrupt your gut microbiome and kill the good guys.
Also, avoid antimicrobial soaps and cleansers. Your skin can absorb the chemical in them—and that can disrupt the balance in your gut as well.
Great foods for gut health include whole, fiber-full, plant-based foods. The fiber in them creates a very happy environment for our good gut bacteria. It ensures we absorb the nutrients we are eating and creates a healthy system where everything flows through you smoothly (if you catch my drift).
Taking care of your gut is just another form of self-care and health. With an enormous amount of studies that link your gut to short and long-term health, this shouldn’t be ignored. With the extra support from a healthy gut, you will be sure to crush your plateaus and fitness goals with extra energy and stamina.