The "Mum Tum."
The Mum Tum- the ins and outs of healthy digestive balance!
We may have all seen the hash tag ‘#mumtum’ or even looked in the mirror and seen something that did not look like it did before babes. The mum tum is real, and it is beautiful. Inside that tummy we grew our babies. All of our organs and innards shifted to allow a tiny little human to develop. What we ate nourished that baby and for those 9 months (give or take) we were ‘ONE’.
Now, as important as physical exercise and core stability is for the ‘mum tum’, so is the internal functioning of the GUT to bring your mum tum back to life. The gut is one of the most important parts of your physical and mental health. I know, sounds odd, but the gut is the seat of all health. Everything relies on the functionality of your gut. EVERYTHING.
Luckily the gut can be pretty open and honest with us about how healthy we actually are. Basically poop is the answer! It is one of the only ways we can truly understand what is going on inside. Speaking about our own poop, isn’t really the done thing. But mummas, we talk so much about our babies’ and kids’ poop, its about time we talked about ours. Ok, if lattes and toilet humor aren’t your thing, atleast go and see someone who will listen.
Most people have experienced an uncomfortable tummy here and there, bloating, flatulence, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea at some point in their life. And that’s all well and good, but for a lot of women (and men) this is something that has become dysfunctional for quite some time. Perhaps starting out with some strange toilet habits occasionally, then perhaps turning into something complex and or becoming dis-eased, or perhaps you float the name IBS for these symptoms. The earlier you get these things checked the better your overall health will become.
Your gut is largely responsible for critical functions of the body. From breaking down food and assimilating vitamins for basic function, to supporting your immune system, generating nutrients and absorbing essentials for hormone regulation, eliminating toxins and of course the all important brain function.
The health of your gut can affect so many aspects of your life. There is this pretty amazing connection between the gut and the brain called the Brain-Gut Axis. Naturopaths, doctors and health professionals have been researching the link for only about 10 plus years, but the clinical observations stand strong. For us mummas, this is huge. Anxiety and depression can indeed come back to the health of the gut. Yes, the physical symptoms are severe and debilitating, but so can the mental symptoms and there have been massive links between the two.
Fixing our mum tums can directly impact our overall wellbeing but really can impact directly on our brain, in particular the neurotransmitters (happy hormones). Bacteria in our gut can send chemical messages to your brain and some strains can actually secrete these chemicals them-self. Meaning, if your gut colony game isn’t strong then symptoms will arise no questions!
As complex as this topic is, it is important to be aware that your gut health severely impacts your overall health. Signs that your gut is unhappy can be pretty obvious; from abdominal pain, bloating after meals, reflux or the toots, but can also be less obvious like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, anxiety, depression and immune system weakness.
Most of us are aware of the idea of good and bad bacteria and just how important a healthy balance is. I am sure we all get that little Blue Bug that says ‘have you had your Inner Health Plus today, stuck in our heads, or pissing us off in the bottom corner of the tv screen watching the Today Show. He is actually right! Getting the balance of the good and bad bugs has shown to impact many aspects of health.
So, we admit it and we are getting the shits (literally) with our tummy dramas so what can we do to help?
Shannon from the Mums and Bubs Nutrition Clinic recommends the following as the gold standard in getting that Mum Tum back in shape sans the bloat:
Cut out refined, processed and fast foods. Restrict sugary foods, cakes, lollies, soft drinks, bottled juices, ice creams and pastries.
Limit starchy carbohydrates to one serves daily and include a palm size portion of protein rich foods at every meal and snack.
Eat fresh and organic as much as possible, choosing two serves of fresh fruits and at least three cups of fresh vegetables daily.
Include healthy oils, nuts and seeds in your diet – this is essential.
Drink plenty of water, a minimum of 1.5l per day depending on exercise regime.
avoid excessive alcohol, (do as I say not as I do ;) ), caffeine and salt.
Get a quality probiotic (seek medical professional advice where possible)
Increase prebiotic and probiotic rich foods in the diet, such as; sauerkraut, asparagus, bananas, legumes, artichokes, kefir, sour cream, yoghurt
Limit and rotate grains, rotating grains is one of the most important ways to Up the B vitamins and nutrients into your diet without being the wheat-laden inflammatory clog factory that we are used to. Think; buckwheat, quinoa, bran, sorghum, rye, barley, spelt, triticale.
Enjoy sourdough breads……