A Punch In The Gut
Your gut health is important for high performance this wrestling season. I know it is not the most pleasant topic to talk about but your poop does matter. As a health clinician, I find myself talking about the GI system a lot and that means talking about your excretions. What color, consistency, constipation, or diarrhea? Those questions are super important to know how to help the person. I believe even before what you eat is how are the food and drinks absorbing into your system across the gut lining. If there are absorption issues then that needs to be addressed and corrected even before what goes in your mouth. You know the digestive system is a long tube starting at your mouth and ending you know where. It is designed to keep out the waste and digest and absorb the nutrients the body needs to be a finely tuned wrestler.
Inside that long tube resides millions and millions of those small microbes called gut bacteria or Gut Microbiome. There are over a 1000 species of bacteria in your gut alone. Those little guys are your friends and you need to nurture them. They do a lot of the digestive work for you, like break down the food and waste. They play a role in producing hormones like serotonin and dopamine. They also keep the ugly bacteria, yeasts, and parasites clear from your gut. Those little friends also communicate with enteric nervous system which then communicates with the brain stem via the vagus nerve. Ninety percent of the function of the vagus nerve is to transmit messages from the gut to the brain stem. The saying of "I have a gut feeling" is very true because it is your second brain. It has it's own nervous system so you definitely need to listen to it. If the gut is healthy there should be 3.5 pounds of the good bacteria in the GI tube. In comparison the brain weighs 3 pounds.
Eating raw vegetables are the best way to keep your gut populated with the right bacteria. It can be hard to get all those vegetables in like broccoli. spinach, cauliflower, kale, green beans, peas, carrots, and others but they do give you lots of nutrients and fiber to keep the gut healthy. I believe lots of plant based foods are good for the gut. You can add in raw almonds, walnuts, pistachios, flax, chia seeds and others. Meat eaters don't get scared off, because you can eat the meat, but have a side of veggies with the meat to give you more bacteria and enzymes to digest it.
Stay away from things that feed the bad bacteria and kill the good. I have talked about this in the past but regular and diet sodas wreak havoc on the gut. The processed, sugar laden foods also will destroy the friendly bacteria quickly. Long term medication use like antibiotics will also kill the good and bad bacteria. Use those in emergency situations. Please be drinking at least half your weight in ounces of water. Don't get dehydrated right now or during the season as that will affect your GI system and slow down the motility of it.
This is a messy start to the wrestling season but bear with me and it will get better.
Kevin Miller D. C.