Improving Gut Health: Small Dietary Changes Can Make a Big Impact

Believe Big’s latest podcast episode features Dawn Swann, a certified integrative health coach, who discusses the importance of gut health in preventing cancer. Swann shares her personal journey of healing her gut and provides tips on making simple changes in diet to improve overall health. The podcast highlights how the key to optimal health is a process of continual learning and small steps.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. Dark chocolate can be beneficial for emotional health, as long as it’s low in sugar and made with a clean sweetener like coconut sugar or coconut oil. Nuts with a higher fat content, like walnuts and macadamia nuts, can also help with emotional health.
  2. Many people have misconceptions about what it means to eat healthy. It’s important to educate ourselves about the hidden sugars and other additives in processed foods and supplements.
  3. Having an integrative practitioner or health coach can be helpful in figuring out what foods are best for your individual body chemistry.
  4. It’s important to be aware of the glycemic index of fruits and to pair them with other foods appropriately.
  5. Eliminating or reducing starch and sugar in your diet can help prevent health issues like insulin resistance, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.

Listen to the full episode here:

According to Swann, over 70% of our immune system is found in our gut, making gut health crucial for our overall well-being. The food we consume has a direct impact on our gut health, and a poor diet can lead to various health problems. She suggests that one should change their attitude towards food and focus on feeling better rather than just counting calories.

Swann recommends making small changes in the diet that will have a significant impact on gut health. One way to achieve this is by focusing on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as they are rich in fiber and other essential nutrients. Another way to improve gut health is by reducing the intake of processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats. These foods are known to cause inflammation in the gut, leading to various health problems, including cancer. Swann recommends replacing processed foods with nutrient-dense options such as nuts, seeds, and lean protein.

In addition to dietary changes, Swann suggests that we should focus on improving our sleep patterns. Good sleep is essential for the body to heal and repair itself, and lack of sleep can lead to various health problems, including a weakened immune system. Swann recommends practicing good sleep hygiene, such as avoiding electronic devices before bedtime, keeping a regular sleep schedule, and creating a relaxing sleep environment.

Lastly, Swann emphasizes the importance of increasing knowledge about nutrition to achieve optimal health. She suggests that we should learn about the nutrients our bodies need and make informed choices about the foods we consume. This will not only improve our gut health but also improve our overall health and well-being.

In conclusion, improving gut health is crucial for our overall health, and small dietary changes can have a significant impact. By focusing on whole foods, reducing processed foods, improving sleep patterns, and increasing knowledge about nutrition, we can achieve optimal health and prevent cancer and other diseases. Incorporating these simple changes into our daily routine can lead to a healthier and happier life.

Connect with Dawn on her website:

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RECIPE – Chocolate Almond Butter Yogurt Bark:

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter ( or nut butter of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup ( can omit )
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips ( I use Hu or Lily’s)

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, then mix first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Spread yogurt mixture onto sheet pan.
Melt chocolate chips in microwave 20 second intervals to avoid burning or in a double boiler, then drizzle onto yogurt mixture and swirl with a knife.
Freeze for about 4 hours then break into bark and enjoy! Store in freezer.

Optional add ons:  shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds or berries.