Healing Your Gut

Not only does a healthy gut reduce risk of chronic diseases like diabetes but 70% of our immune system is also in the gut so it is critical to heal and focus on our gut health. There are many ways to help start healing your gut.

  • Remove processed and sugary foods from your diet. Transition to a whole foods-based diet by adding in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your meals.
  • Incorporate prebiotic foods into your diet. Artichokes, onions, garlic, and asparagus are just a few of many foods that help the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.
  • Try fermented foods. These are rich in probiotics which help restore the gut and intestinal barrier. Add in sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, yogurt, and kefir to your daily meals.
  • Create healthy sleep habits. Aim for 7-8 hours of high quality sleep every night and try to maintain the same sleep schedule every day.
  • Regular exercise. Not only is regular exercise great for overall health, it also helps keep your gut microbiome in shape.
  • Manage stress. Try meditating or practicing yoga every day to keep your stress levels down.

What Is Gut Health?

“All disease begins in the gut” – Hippocrates

Even though Hippocrates made this statement over 2,000 years ago, we are just now understanding how correct he was. Gut health is critical to overall health and an unhealthy gut may contribute to chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety.

The human gut is home to 100 trillion microorganisms – these microorganisms have a profound impact on our health. They promote the movement of food through the intestines, protect against infection, produce vitamins, and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal mucus layer, all contributing to our overall health. However, modern lifestyles may disturb the gut and overall health.

  • Processed foods. The Standard American Diet is packed with processed foods which causes inflammation in the gut and contributing to many adverse health effects.
  • Low fiber diets. Fiber helps fuel our gut microbes and a lack of fiber is common in many peoples’ diets.
  • Added sugar. Sugar feeds the harmful gut bacteria and can contribute to yeast overgrowth, all which can make the gut inflamed.
  • Chronic stress also may lead to inflammation in the gut, making it harder for the microorganisms to do their job.
  • Chronic infections and antibiotics. Bacterial, fungal, and viral infections alter the composition of the gut, and repeated rounds of antibiotics to treat such infections also alter the gut microbiome.
  • Circadian rhythm disruption. Abnormal wake/sleep schedules and poor-quality sleep also causes an imbalance in the gut microbiome.

When the gut is inflamed and compromised, it may lead to ‘leaky gut’ which is when substances from the gut leak into your bloodstream and could be playing a role in many health conditions.

How the Johnson & Johnson Vaccine is Different

With news of a third COVID-19 vaccine getting emergency use authorization from the FDA, we wanted to explain some of the differences between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and how all 3 are safe and effective at protecting against COVID-19. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine does not use mRNA technology like the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine, rather it uses a more traditional virus-based technology. This means that it delivers a harmless virus to our bodies that prods our cells to produce a spike protein and once our immune system detects that protein, it starts making the antibodies that will protect against COVID-19.  

Trials showed that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was more than 66% effective when it came to preventing illness and 85% effective in preventing hospitalizations and death.  

One of the main benefits of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is that it is a single shot, while the mRNA vaccines require two. It can also be kept at refrigerator temperatures and will remain stable for months, making it easier to distribute and maintain.  

Side effects from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine can typically last a day or two, varying from person to person, and can include fever, fatigue, muscle aches, chills or nausea shortly after being vaccinated. 

Importance of Preventive Care

Preventive care is when you take consistent measures to prevent disease or detect existing health conditions before they can become a major issue. The earlier your doctor can find conditions like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, the sooner they can start a treatment plan, meaning a better health outcome for you. Preventive care can even help prevent public health emergencies, for example getting vaccinated against the seasonal flu to prevent the spread of the infectious disease. 

Not only does preventive care help keep you healthy, it can also lead to lower healthcare costs with less visits to specialists or the hospital. 

Here are some examples of preventive care: 

  • Blood tests to check for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol 
  • Cancer screenings, like colonoscopies and mammograms 
  • Annual wellness visits where your primary care doctor checks all areas of health – physical and emotional 
  • Vaccinations against polio, measles, and meningitis 
  • Seasonal flu and pneumonia shots 
  • Regular vision and hearing screening 
  • Routine dental check-ups every 6 months 

Talk to your R-Health doctor at your next visit to make sure you are up to date on any screenings and immunizations to keep you at your healthiest.