As a professional singer, I’ve learned that looking after my gut health serves me in ways that not only impact my day-to-day well being, but can have a direct impact on my paycheck as well.
Let me explain…
I was diagnosed with acid reflux (GERD) about 5 or 6 years ago. As a singer, this particular ailment can have a big impact.
GERD is a condition where the esophageal sphincter, (the ring-like muscle at the base of the esophagus that acts as a barrier between that and your stomach) is weakened and the acid in your stomach comes back up into the esophagus (and sometimes all the way up to your throat.) When this happens it can really irritate and wreak havoc on your delicate little vocal chords, causing them to become inflamed and making you more susceptible to things like laryngitis, polyps, nodules (a personal struggle of mine from time to time through the years,) and other such ailments that can really make a professional singer’s life hell.
Bottom line: when your chords are out of commission, it makes it hard for you to do your job.
Back when I was originally diagnosed, my well-meaning ENT gave me tons of free samples of his favorite acid-blocking meds and sent me on my way to my next cruise ship contract.
I dutifully took the medication for a little while, but being the curious little creature that I am, and being a person who likes to really understand what I’m putting into my body and how to avoid medications when there are natural solutions available, I started to do a little research.
What I found out was that there is a common misconception about reflux:
While many believe this condition is due to too much acid in the stomach, the opposite is true. Too LITTLE acid in the stomach is actually the culprit more often than not.
Not only that, but I discovered that these types of medications are known to cause disbyosis in the gut.
I thought to myself…
Stomach acid serves a very specific purpose in our bodies. It is there to break down our food and to aid in digestion…
In light of these facts, I was not at all interested in taking acid blockers and quit immediately.
This led me down a very deep rabbit hole investigating everything I could find about gut health and how it impacts not only digestive functions (or disorders,) but the rest of the body.
There is so much research being done on the microbiome these days and we are only just beginning to understand how integral having a healthy gut environment is to virtually every other function in our bodies. The gut has been referred to as the “second brain”, the key to healthy immune function, balancing your hormones and so many other functions in these incredible bodies we inhabit.
Probiotics may be one of the most important groups of nutrients that improve the function of your intestine and other organs. And while a high-quality probiotic supplement (like this one) is a good option, it’s not the only way to get them into your body. Many people are not familiar with the impact incorporating a healthy dose of probiotic-rich foods into their diet can make in their overall health and well-being.
Here are a few foods and drinks that provide your body with the probiotics that keep your gut happy.
Yogurt is enriched with healthy bacteria that help improve the performance of your gut and boost its overall function. Probiotics facilitate the growth of healthy bacteria in your body, which prepares your body to fight against gut inflammation. Yogurt is an inexpensive, plentiful source of probiotics, but be sure to choose the most beneficial varieties. Organic and Greek yogurts contain a higher level of probiotics as compared to their non-organic counterparts. Avoid purchasing yogurt that is actually labeled as “probiotic.” The companies that claim to offer probiotic-laden yogurts tend to add corn syrup, excessive sugar, artificial sweetener, and dyes in their products to expand its shelf life. Also, this type of yogurt is frequently pasteurized, which ends up killing the probiotics in the yogurt.
Yogurt is easy to make on your own as well! Check out this recipe for an easy, 2 ingredient dairy-free coconut yogurt. Companies like Thrive Market are great sources for the culture starter kits to make your own yogurt at home.Click HERE to get 25% off your first THRIVE Market order.
Kefir is a yogurt substitute that provides high levels of probiotics to help treat inflamed or leaky gut. It is produced by combining rice, sheep, goat, cow, or coconut milk with a gelatinous grain and fermented. The fermentation process expedites the growth of healthy bacteria. Kefir contains approximately 10-34 types of probiotics that can quickly soothe the symptoms of a leaky intestine.
Kombucha is a type of drink enriched with high levels of probiotics and is often recommended to patients who have been diagnosed with an inflammatory and leaky gut. Kombucha’s high level of Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY) plays a vital role in improving the performance and functions of your gut. It is prepared by combining SCOBY with sugar extracts to sweeten the juice and initiate the fermentation responsible for the probiotic content.
When correctly prepared, kombucha provides a number of health benefits that that can help improve the condition of your digestive system, increase your metabolism and aid the function of the liver.
Miso is packed with probiotics that play a crucial role in improving the performance of your gut. Miso is prepared by combining fermented rye, barley, and beans with koji. It is often recommended by nutritionists and doctors for patients diagnosed with an inflamed gut.
Natto is prepared through the fermentation of soybeans. It has a strong flavor and a high presence of probiotics. Natto consists of Bacillus Subtilis, which plays a vital role in the improvement of your immune system, absorption of vitamin K2, and overall cardiovascular health. It also contains high quantities of nattokinase, which may help in cancer treatment.
If you’d like to learn more about real foods you can start using to help repair your gut right now, download my FREE eGuide below: