Everybody knows that nutrition is a hugely important part of health, well-being and weight loss- You are what you eat. Most of us also understand that your lifestyle and overall levels of physiological load (physical and mental/emotional stress) can have a huge impact on your levels of vitality, energy and performance too. But what if you're eating clean, avoiding stress and training hard yet still not getting the results you desire ? It's time to look deeper at your health and perhaps, instead of concentrating on what you look like on the outside (physical appearance), placing more emphasis on whats going on on the inside (digestion). At the end of the day you are what you can absorb !

Here at BodyGuards, we help you to take a wider look at your health and encourage a more overall, 'whole' approach to optimal performance and function, delving into every factor of well-being in an appropriate order or sequence to help you unleash your potential and allow your body to operate the way nature intended. Often, one of the first steps we help you to take is to optimise the function of your gut so that you can breakdown your food fully and thus assimilate all the available nutrients in your food in order for your body to be able to generate more energy, replenish, repair and regenerate new tissue and cells, and thus perform at a higher level. We call it 'working from the inside out' and explain how good digestion is one of the foundations of a fully functional body. Over 2500 years ago, Hippocrates said "all disease starts in the gut" and "let food be thy medicine". When we consider that the majority of illness and disease we seem to be facing today seems to be auto-immune in nature and that a poorly functioning gut tends to cause an immune response which tends to create systemic inflammation which results in our own body attacking its own cells, it seems like an obvious place to start or to focus on if you're not getting the results you've been working hard for in the gym. Without a robust digestive system, all the other systems of the body (muscular, skeletal, cardiovascular, immune, hormonal etc) will struggle to function optimally since they are all inter-related, co-reliant and communicate amongst themselves. Poor digestion leads to a lack of nourishment, malnutrition, overeating, slower metabolism, increased levels of fat storage, less energy, bloating and inflammation, weakened immune system, longer recovery from illness and injury, difficulty in regenerating muscle, weaker bones, brittle ligaments and tendons, hormonal imbalances, less sex drive, poor quality skin and hair, headaches, back pain, joint pain, stomach aches to name but a few of the symptoms. Furthermore, several years of poor nutrition will likely result in the development of illness and disease.

The following are a selection of helpful tips that will allow your body to begin to repair your digestive tract, eliminate issues such as 'leaky gut syndrome' and start to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria which will help you to breakdown your food properly and absorb the vital nutrients into your bloodstream without aggravating the organs of digestion and stimulate the immune/inflammatory response which can cause you to struggle to improve your overall health and performance. Why don't you try and implement as many as you can into the next four weeks and see how you feel inside (and notice how you look on the outside)...

Remove (or at least reduce where possible):

1. Physiological Load

Mental stress – work, finances Emotional stress – family, relationships Nutritional stress – mal-nourishment, starvation, over-eating Physical stress – over-training, injury, poor posture, sedentary lifestyle Sleep – lack of sleep, late nights, disturbed sleep Toxicity – processed foods, commercial farming (chemical fertilisers, weed-killers and pesticides), smoking, pollution, make-up, skincare products, household products Dehydration – Lack of water, excessive perspiration, poor water quality Electromagnetic – mobile phones, phone masts, computers, televisions, Wi-fi, Bluetooth, overhead powerlines, too much sun (?) etc

2. Alcohol + Cigarettes

Avoid wheat-based alcohol in particular such as ale, beer, whiskey, vodka, gin

3. Processed foods

Primarily remove all processed sugars, grains and refined (vegetable) oils. Eat naturally produced, organic wholefoods only. Eliminate synthetic food additives such as sweeteners, colouring, flavouring, preservatives etc (read the ingredients – wholefoods tend not to have any ingredients)

4. Lectins

Remove Gluten (wheat), Pasteurised Dairy, Soy (unless fermented), Peanuts, Corn, Tomatoes. In general be most cautious of grains and legumes

5. N.S.A.I.D.s and Anti-Biotics

Ibuprofen and similar anti-inflammatories/pain killers (consult your doctor first) Tips: Slow down, Put your phone away, Focus on your ‘self’ for a bit, Avoid ‘achiever fever’, Find time to recover + relax, Have a ‘power-nap’, Exercise at a lower intensity for a while, Schedule ‘total-rest’ days, Practice breathing exercises, Do a daily stretching routine, Exercise the deep core muscles, Try meditation, Yoga, Qi-gong or Tai Chi, Take a bath with some Epson or Magnesium salts, Read a book, Eat only wholefoods (i.e. fresh meat and veg) with no added ingredients/chemicals, Avoid wheat, Only use unpasteurized milk, Drink plenty of bottled water, Go Tea-total for a month, If you have to drink stick to a glass of wine, Vape instead of smoking, Stop using hair & skincare products full of chemicals, Try a cold shower, Get some early nights, Book yourself a relaxing holiday, Have a full body massage, enjoy a ‘pamper day’ and just generally take it easy…

Add or include whenever possible:

1. Foods that Support Digestion & Anti-inflammatory Foods

Omega-3 rich ‘GOOD’ fats i.e. fish, eggs, chia, flax, coconut, walnuts Also include turmeric, fish oils, ginger, rosemary, oregano, aloe vera, licorice root, goats milk, natural yoghurt, coconut products, fennel, fermented foods, apples, cucumber, beetroot, carrot etc

2. Bone Broth & Collagen

Make bone broth or include collagen (Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate)

3. Pro-Biotics

Choose a good brand such as Bio-Kult or one that contains several ‘strands’

4. Digestive Enzymes, Apple Cider Vinegar & Pre-Biotics

Take digestive enzymes and/or apple cider vinegar 15 mins before a meal and include fermented foods like kefir (dairy), kombucha (tea) and sauerkraut (cabbage) and enzyme-rich foods (papaya)

5. Mineral Water (not tap) + Unprocessed Sea Salt

Minimise chlorine intake by replacing tap water with good quality bottled water. Also try to add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt to a 1.5 litre bottle each day. Add 2 drops of oregano oil ?

6. Go Organic, Free-Range, Grass-Fed, Gluten/Grain-Free, Raw Milk

Minimise your exposure to toxic chemicals in your food as a result of commercial farming processes and food processing or manufacture

7. Use Herbs & Spices

Include fresh ginger, basil, cinnamon, chillis, oregano, turmeric, rosemary, black pepper

8. Chew Your Food – Don’t gulp your food down, take your time

9. Eat More Fiber

Include fruit, leafy green vegetables, Nutri-bullets, unprocessed whole-grains & sprouted grains

10. Inner Core Unit & Breathing Exercises

Activate TVA, Pelvic floor etc

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