Life Coach is an advice column on how to be an even better version of yourself in every capacity. This week's special guest is Jules Miller, CEO of The Nue Co. and the ultimate gut health enthusiast. Find out how to keep your gut in check with her digestible guide.

For too long, dieting for the sake of maintaining a commercially acceptable physical appearance has been the main talking point around what we put into our bodies. But as attitudes around "wellness" continue to shift, gut health is suddenly making its way to the forefront of the conversation. Back in 2015, Giulia Enders examined the complexity of this essential system in her book, Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body's Most Underrated Organ. Fariha Róisín has even been hailing the gut health phenomenon in recent interviews while promoting her new poetry book, How to Cure a Ghost.

When Jules Miller launched The Nue Co. in 2017, her mission was to redefine our relationship with health using food as medicine. The brand's original Debloat Food + Probiotic was designed specifically for providing relief to the gut with a capsule jam packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients.

Since then, Miller has delved even deeper into the gut with the Gut+ collection. Scroll down for this easily digestible guide and get your gut in check.

What exactly does gut health involve? What do people need to know about it?

Gut health is a broad term for the workings of our intestines, stomach, and our digestive system, but usually when people say “gut” they’re talking more specifically about our microbiome - the trillions of bacteria we carry in our digestive tract. This combination of good and bad bacteria make our gut as unique as a fingerprint - even identical twins have a different microbiome. What a lot of people don’t realize is that our gut can impact everything from immunity, digestion (of course), skin, and even mood, which is why it is often referred to as the “second brain.”

What is the "gut-brain axis" and how does it make an impact on our state of well-being?

This connection is something that has been a major part of Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for thousands of years, but something that’s really only just starting to be explored in Western medicine. More and more research is showing that there is a direct connection between our gut microbiota and mental health, with symptoms like brain fog, memory problems, anxiety, depression and even low sex drive being connected with poor gut health.

How do gut microbiomes come into play? What are some of the most common gut problems? What are early signs or symptoms?

The word microbiome comes from Greek: “micro” meaning small, and “biome” meaning a complex community that is home to a number of different living organisms.

Our gut is a microbiome that is host to a number of different living organisms, most significantly bacteria. The bacteria in our gut help to regulate it and keep it healthy –– meaning that we always want what is considered to be “good” bacteria to be dominant over pathogenic ones. When that balance gets out of whack, we experience gut issues like bloating, constipation, IBS, poor digestion, and abdominal pain.

What can be done to alleviate the gut when issues arise? Is there anything obvious that should be avoided?

It’s hard to say, as issues with the gut can vary hugely from person to person. Technically bloating, constipation, poor digestion, and diarrhea all fall under the broad category of “gut health”, but they obviously couldn’t be more different and treatment for each is likely to vary. The most important thing to remember is that a healthy gut looks and feels different for everyone.

I developed really bad IBS when I was in my mid-twenties, suffering with cramps and bloating. I found that one of my biggest triggers was stress and high FODMAP foods, ironically I was fine with pizza but if I ate raw garlic or onions it was a different story. Multiple studies have found that continually raised stress levels was one of the major causes of gut issues including bloating, constipation, poor digestion, and diarrhea, since it impairs the balance of the gut flora (microbiome).

To keep the microbiome balanced, I take our PREBIOTIC + PROBIOTIC daily. If I’m experiencing bloating, I’ll turn to our DEBLOAT+, which is a supercharged version of our best-selling DEBLOAT FOOD + PREBIOTIC. It works quickly to alleviate any uncomfortable bloating and subsequent heartburn. Around the holidays, and especially Thanksgiving, I find that I tend to overindulge in rich foods, which just completely slows down my digestion.

To try and combat that, I’ve been taking DIGEST START 15 minutes before each meal. It’s a tincture that was inspired by the digestive bitters that were popular in the 19th century, and contains natural ingredients like licorice root, burdock root, apple cider vinegar, and dandelion root, which help the body to produce digestive enzymes and juices, which in turn, break down food.

How do you go about maintaining a healthy, balanced gut? What measures can be taken to better support this system?

In addition to taking our PREBIOTIC + PROBIOTIC everyday, never underestimate the importance of sleep and regulating stress levels.

Revisit our scientific skincare guide from Dr. Barbara Sturm

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