When we say the word, “gut”, we think of the inner workings of something, a reference to courage or, more literally, our intestines. But how often do you think of the immune system, brain health or nutrient absorption? I met with three of our Family Medicine physicians to come up with 4 ways that you and your family can upgrade your “guts” for better health for your whole body, all year round.
Detox - “When your intestines are caked with undigested food, unfriendly bacteria and toxins that have yet to be eliminated, your body can’t absorb and use the vital nutrients in even the healthiest of diets,” explains Dr. Kamau Kokayi, our senior staff physician who practices holistic family medicine. It’s startling to note that you could be preparing all organic, local, fresh foods for your family – the best that money can buy – and it may not get absorbed if you haven’t cleansed your digestive system recently.
Probiotics - “Almost everyone can benefit from adding friendly bacteria to their digestive system. Doing this helps whole-body immunity year-round,” says Dr. Vivian DeNise our holistic pediatrician. She is a huge fan of probiotics for the whole family. Probiotics are relatively inexpensive and easy to add to the daily routine for everyone – from powdered formulas that can be mixed in to milk for babies to chewable pills or capsules. These days, there are probiotics that do not need to be refrigerated, which is good news if you’re traveling or “on the go”.
Eat healthy food in sensible portions - “Focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy proteins in several small meals throughout the day. Help your children learn healthy eating habits while they are young,” advises Dr. Thomas Goforth, one of our Family Medicine physicians. Overloading your family’s plate with junk food or too many low-quality, processed foods is a ticket not only to poor gut health, but many other health challenges as well, including Diabetes Type 2, obesity, heart disease and fatigue.
Relax - There is a strong link between our brains and guts. For instance, when you get nervous, you may notice you have a tight feeling in your belly. Or when you eat a big, unhealthy meal full of poor quality fats or processed carbs, your brain may feel foggy. I recommend that all of my patients have a daily stress-relieving practice. I like to meditate each morning before my daughters awake. I have patients who practice yoga or go for walks. For some, going to the gym and working out is a release. Or simply try spending time doing your favorite hobby such as art, music, dancing or playing a sport. Chronic stress acts the same as any other toxin in your system. It challenges even the healthiest of digestive systems and makes it more susceptible to upsets, imbalances and diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease. Are you ready to get your family’s guts in gear? If you’re preparing for the school year and want to get off to a good start with a family physician who can partner with you yearround on your family’s wellness needs, we have a variety of excellent physicians to meet your needs.
Get $25 off your office visit with one of our out-of-network medical doctors at Patients Medical before August 31st, 2012. Call 212.794.8800 to schedule your appointment.
Written By: Dr. Rashmi Gulati
800 Second Ave, Suite 900
New York, NY 10017