We are officially in the spooky season, and nothing is more frightening than an unwelcome gut complication. There is a constant influx of information regarding how best to take care of one’s gut health, which can feel overwhelming. It can be hard to navigate which claims to take seriously and which might not hold as much merit as it seems. In the spirit of October coming to a start, let us break down which haunted gut health myths are worth your interest and which ones simply are not as spooky as they seem.
The Potential Benefits or Setbacks of Late-Night Snacking and Fasting
Myth #1: Eating a late-night snack is like inviting a ghost to haunt your gut!
Reality: Eating late at night can disrupt your circadian rhythm and make it more challenging for your body to digest the food properly, but the type of snacks you eat matters more than the timing. If you choose to eat a fatty and artificial sweetener-induced meal right before bed, this will most definitely cause your gut to retaliate. You might experience acid reflux and abdominal pain.
However, if you choose to opt for a healthier snack alternative in the evening that is both nutritious and light, you are less likely to experience gut complications. As long as late snacking is a rare occurrence and consists of whole foods, the ghosts cannot invade your stomach! Snacks like kiwi, popcorn, hummus, and blueberries are all wonderful late-night snack options.
Myth #2: Fasting during the fall season is like a witch’s spell for gut health!
Reality: Fasting refers to a period of time in which a person chooses to abstain from consuming food or beverages. Intermittent fasting may help reduce gut inflammation and allow your digestive tract to digest all the food in your system entirely. However, fasting is not for everyone. Fasting can be very detrimental if you struggle with maintaining your blood sugar levels. Fasting might also support the idea that we can eat less food to be healthy, but we should keep our nutrient and preferred caloric intake regardless of how long we fast. Consult a physician before adding any time restrictions to your eating habits.
Beneficial Bacteria vs. Harmful Bacteria and Potential Ways to Cleanse Your Gut
Myth #3: All bacteria are evil spirits lurking in your digestive system!
Reality: There are millions of beneficial and harmful bacteria in our guts. It would not be correct to say that they are all harmful to our gut health because beneficial bacteria are essential to fostering a healthy digestive system. The bacteria make up what we call the gut microbiota. Harmful bacteria in the gut can manifest in very unpleasant ways, such as promoting bloating, indigestion, and constipation. It can cause mental complications such as brain fog, anxiety, and a short fuse.
These are all symptoms to look out for that indicate your gut is plagued with harmful bacteria. On the other hand, the growth of beneficial bacteria can cause these symptoms to lessen, and you will see positive changes in your overall health.
Taking a probiotic supplement is one of the best ways to manage the bacteria in your digestive tract. A probiotic that helps with bloating contains the probiotics needed to rid your body of harmful bacteria and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Probiotic Renu is an excellent example of a bloating supplement containing both bifido and lacto probiotic cultures.
Myth #4: Detox teas are magical spirits that cleanse your gut!
Reality: There is no one solution to cleansing your gut. Maintaining a healthy gut requires consistency, dedication, and a wide variety of different health habits. However, depending on the specific tea, detox teas can significantly support this journey. Some detox teas contain additives, artificial sweeteners, and laxatives. These can all harm your digestive process to some degree, so it is essential to look at the ingredient list on whatever tea you consume. It is wiser to opt for a natural detox tea such as green tea, which contains levels of caffeine but also antioxidants.
The idea behind detox teas is that your body would get rid of any waste left in your digestive tract, and because of this, the creators of detox teas tend to amp up certain ingredients, such as caffeine and laxatives. These certain ingredients can have significant side effects for certain people, so you must take note of the ingredients and refer them to a physician to understand best what is right for you. Herbal teas still give many added benefits to your digestive tract without the potential of any added processed ingredients. Some of our favorite herbal teas for digestion include green tea, peppermint tea, ginger tea, and fennel tea.
The Impact of Food Intolerances On Your Gut and How To Navigate These Effects
Myth #5: Gluten is a vampire that sucks the life out of your gut!
Reality: There are two different levels unto which a person can land in regards to the effect of gluten on their body:
- Gluten intolerance
- Celiac disease
However, this does not mean that gluten is the evil vampire looking to rid you of your digestive health. The percentage of people who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease is relatively low. Unpleasant symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea can last for days following gluten consumption for those who are intolerant. For those with celiac disease, these symptoms are often intensified along with rashes and other unpleasant reactions due to the trigger on their immune system.
Keeping a food log is the best way to identify if gluten is the cause of your digestive complications. Take note of your foods and how your body reacts to them. If you find a pattern of gluten foods aligning with your difficulties, eliminate gluten from your diet to see how your body reacts. If you struggle with consuming gluten, reach out to your physician for further guidance.
Myth #6: Dairy is the evil villain that should be destroyed at all costs!
Reality: Lactose intolerance is real, and while certain people will find that dairy products cause an upset stomach, for others, dairy can be a significant part of a healthy diet. Bloating, irregular bowel movements, stomach pain, and nausea indicate that you might be intolerant to lactose. However, if you do not react adversely to dairy products, they can be an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. It is also essential to building strong and healthy bones. Do not let the stigma behind dairy scare you away!