We spring clean our houses, cars and cottages, but when was the last time you spring cleaned your gut?
Your gut is such an important part of keeping your immune system strong. Some 70 to 80 per cent of your immune system tissue is located in your digestive system! That's why ensuring that you are supporting your gut is so important for increased energy, ability to fight colds and flus and to keep your energy levels at their optimal capacity!
I am not a fan of products that you can buy off a shelf that are marketed as a cleanse. Why? While they may seem convenient, many of these products use harsh herbal laxatives and are not individualized enough to effectively address each person's needs.
The result can be cramping, diarrhea and the loss of beneficial good bacteria, leading to fatigue and a diminished immune system -- and isn't that exactly what we're trying to avoid?
Here are three simple steps to spring clean your gut.
Take a high-quality probiotic.
Why? Probiotics are ESSENTIAL for maintaining healthy gut flora, which suppresses the growth of harmful bacteria and boosts your immune system.
How? Visit a health food store or talk to your health care provider to ensure you are buying a high quality probiotic that contains Lactobacillus bulgaricus c and bifidus.
Eat chia seeds.
Why? Chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids that help to reduce inflammation in the body and in the gut. Compared by weight, chia seeds have more anti-inflammatory Omega-3 than salmon. They contain high amounts of both soluble and insoluble fibre, and when exposed to any liquid absorb almost nine times their own weight, helping to eliminate toxins and relieve constipation.
How? Add two to three tablespoons of chia seeds to your morning cereal, salads or smoothies. Or, try my recipe for 20-second chocolate chia pudding.
Eat dark leafy greens.
Why? Eat veggies like it's your job! Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach and chard contain high amounts of fibre and are full of antioxidants that to help protect the body and gut from the thousands of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis.
How? Aim to consume four to six cups of dark leafy greens each day by adding them to salads, sandwiches and your morning smoothie. If you have difficulty digesting them, I suggest simply steaming your veggies to help your body digest these powerhouses.
Ready to get scrubbing? Be sure to swing by the produce aisle or make a pit stop at your favourite natural food store, pick up a few "cleaning materials" and get your spring cleaning underway! You'll be amazed by how great it feels to get your "house" sparking clean.
Kathy Smart is known around the world for helping people to live, eat and move smart. Best known as North America's gluten-free expert, she is a popular and award winning speaker, health and fitness presenter and the go-to media expert in all things health and wellness. She is a registered holistic nutritionist, best-selling cookbook author, and founder of the Live the Smart Way Expo, Canada's largest health and wellness consumer show.
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
MORE ON HUFFPOST: