If you are struggling with gut related issues such as acne, anxiety, mood swings, autoimmunity, brain fog, food intolerances, hormonal issues, bloating, gas, etc – listen up.
Addressing gut health typically isn’t something we think about when we have symptoms like acne or anxiety, but they are directly related.
One specific area I want to teach about today is how the habit of snacking could be the missing piece in healing your gut-related issues.
How Snacking Affects Gut Health
When we snack, we are constantly filling our guts with food and not allowing time for ‘rest’ and ‘healing’. Digestion is a very complex process and requires a lot of energy and perfectly-timed signals. Constantly snacking and eating has the opportunity to ‘muck-up’ the correct signalling.
Maybe you don’t need to worry about this at all. But, I’d highly consider this if you’re having any gut-related issues at all.
2 Healthy Gut-Healing Habits
1.Intermittent fasting. Fasting allows your gut to have time to heal without food passing through constantly. People struggling with gut-issues usually have poor transit time, so going without food can allow for the GI-tract to clear properly.
How to start: start with a 14 hour fast 1-3 times per week where you finish eating dinner by 7pm and don’t eat until the next morning at 9am. You can break the fast with something nourishing and easy to digest like a cup of tea with collagen, a cup of bone broth, or a glass of lemon water.
Most women are suited to a 12-14 hr fast and men 15-18 hr have been studied as being the “sweet spot” as recommended by Brad Pilon (author of Good Belly, Bad Belly), but play around with what works for you. I want to reiterate that this fasting protocol is being recommenced for use in healing our gut, and not for a dieting / calorie restricting method.
2.Stop snacking. When we are’t continually eating, our GI system has the ability to digest the food from our last meal. This allows for an important clean-up process that happens 1-3 hour after digestion is finished – this is called the Migrating Motor Complex (MMC)
MMC is a sweep of peristaltic contractions that start at the stomach and finish at the intestines after a meal. This sweeping motion is integral for clearing out undigested food that remains in the digestive tract. This process keeps undigested food from sitting in the gut for too long where it has the opportunity to ferment, causing constipation, gas, bloating and dysbiosis of the gut microbiome.
Important Considerations of the MMC
There are a few really important takeaways for this to benefit you and your gut health.
The first being there are a few things that can prevent MMC from occurring. Stress and anxiety can prevent the final digestive sweep of the MMC from occurring at all because we don’t rest and digest during stress. This prevents an adequate amount of digestive juices to be secreted as well.
For most people who continually eat all day the only time a full MMC gets to take place if at night. So hopefully you can see where I am coming from when I say STOP SNACKING!!
It was honestly really difficult to do for me as I was a grazer however I can happily just have a nice 3 meals per day and occasionally enjoy a snack every once in a while.
So the question you need to ask yourself if how important is it that you fix your gut health issues? If its a 7-10 on a 1-10 scale… you gotta stop snacking, your body and gut health will thank you for it.