How To Promote Gut Health During Pregnancy + Postpartum
A popular topic around the HGGHQ these days is Gut Health. We receive a lot of messages and questions about ways to improve gut health.
Why does gut health matter? Your microbiome, the population of microbes (bacteria) that live in your gut, plays a key role in your immune health, digestive and gut health, mood, energy levels and skin health. Did you know that eighty-percent of your immune health resides in your gut? Did you also know that the gut is often referred to as “the second brain” because of how closely gut health and cognitive health are related? Gut health is crucial for all season of life, and is especially important during pregnancy and postpartum.
Below are a few tips for how you can promote gut health during pregnancy and postpartum.
Consume A Diet Rich in Prebiotics and Probiotics
Probiotics are living bacteria naturally found in our digestive tract. Probiotics may help strengthen the immune system, improve digestion, gut health, hormone health and have even been linked to better breath, healthier hair, skin and nails. Food sources of probiotics include Kombucha, Kefir, Miso Soup and Apple Cider Vinegar.
Prebiotics are essentially the food or fuel for probiotics. They help increase the friendly probiotics in our digestive system. Foods sources of prebiotics include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, oats, barley, apples and flaxseeds, just to name a few.
Take a Probiotic Supplement
In addition to consuming prebiotic and probiotic rich foods, a supplement is a great idea. As an ambassador for MegaFoodⓇ and a consumer of their products for years, I love and recommend their MegaFloraⓇ probiotic supplements.
MegaFood MegaFloraⓇ for Baby & Me is great to consume while pregnant and postpartum because it contains a broad spectrum of our proprietary blend of 14 unique strains of 20 billion probiotics, inger to soothe upset tummies and support healthy digestive function, and prebiotics to promote the health and wellbeing of pregnant and breastfeeding women.* Probiotics support nutrient absorption, and studies have shown that intake of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001) during the last trimester and early breastfeeding supports the child’s developing immune system.* If you’re a woman who isn’t pregnant or postpartum, I’d recommend MegaFood MegaFlora® for Women because it’s tailored to the female anatomy, with higher counts of Lactobacillus rhamnosus (HN001) and Lactobacillus plantarum (LP115), shown to promote vaginal and urinary tract health.*
Just like all of the company’s supplements, MegaFlora for Baby & Me is free from gluten, dairy and soy, and certified glyphosate residue free! The company is passionate about delivering the best products on the market that nourish the body and replenish the soil with the nutrients it needs and working to advocate for organic and regenerative agriculture everywhere.
Store your MegaFlora in the fridge or freezer, and taking it once daily with a meal.
Reduce Intake of Processed Foods / Foods with High Added Sugar
Sugar is food for bad bacteria. We have a combination of good and bad bacteria in our digestive system at all times. Problems can arise when the levels of bad bacteria outweigh the good. A diet high in sugar can support bad bacteria growth. If you’re struggling with digestive issues or you have in the past and would like to be preventative, aim to consume a low sugar diet. The easiest way to do this is to eat mostly real, whole foods and have packaged foods with added sugar as an occasional treat. Always read ingredients lists as well – it surprising how many packaged foods contain sugar!
Collagen is the main protein of all connective tissue. Simply put, it holds everything together! Collagen is a primary component of the cells that line the gut and it helps to repair the lining of the gut, which is essential for nutrient absorption and transfer.
One source of collagen is bone broth which is packed with vitamins, minerals, collagen and protein. Bone broth is a great base for nourishing soups or to cook your quinoa or brown rice with instead of water.
Vitamin C is essential for collagen production. A diet rich in vitamin C foods such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, sweet potatoes and broccoli helps the body naturally produce collagen.
If you’re vegan or vegetarian consume vitamin C rich foods that support collagen production in place of straight collagen sources, such as bone broth.
The gut-brain connection is real! Did you know that when you’re stressed you likely take short, shallow breaths? Your Sympathetic Nervous Symptom is activated and your body is in “flight or fight” mode. Chronic stress is taxing on the body, mind, emotions and gut health! ⠀
The responsibility of pregnancy and parenthood is stressful and postpartum anxiety is common. Some stressors we can’t avoid, but we can build techniques that help us better handle stress so that it doesn’t affect our body, mind or emotions in such a negative way. ⠀
My favorite stress-fighting technique is deep, slow breaths which can help move the body towards a state of relaxation. Studies have also shown that breath work, known as Pranayama, and yoga can help reduce anxiety, pain, blood pressure as well support immune and digestive health.⠀
Give It A Try! Breathe in through the noise and then let out a big sigh so that you feel it in the back or your throat. Repeat for 15 – 20 seconds. How do you feel? Repeat this breathing technique multiple times throughout the day!
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by MegaFood. We only partner with brand we love, genuinely use and believe the HGG Community would love to learn about.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.