Nutrition for Dancers

MICROBIOME…Dancers Feed your GUT with PLANTS

by Caroline Lewis-Jones

Hey everyone! This month I wanted to focus on the word “Microbiome”. Our gut health is the key to our longevity and prevention of most illnesses. It truly is the mother of all of our foundational systems in the body. Let’s break down what microbiome is. The microbiome is a community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment and especially the collection of microorganisms living in or on the human body. You are actually 90% microbiome and 10% human. Crazy right?

We have good and bad bacteria in the intestines and our goal is to diminish the bad and grow the good. Everyone focuses on the word, “Probiotics”, and these are wonderful to get through foods we eat like kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha and other fermented foods. However, what I want all of you to start focusing on is the word “Prebiotic”. Prebiotic is simply plant fiber and this fiber is what the good bacteria love to FEAST on. They will gobble up the fiber and grow, grow, grow!!! Now what do you think the bad bacteria love to feast on? They love to eat what I call Acidic Foods; foods that have an acidic Ph, such as dairy, animal protein, sugary foods, and saturated fats.

If you want to improve your good microbiome, eat more PLANT Based Foods such as fruits, veggies, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. These foods have an alkaline Ph. and do wonders for your dancing body. We also know that the number one predictor of strong microbiome health is a diversity of plants in the diet. Eating all of the colors of the rainbow is so essential for your gut health. Humans and especially dancers, I see us eating the same foods. We become a creature of habit. These foods may be healthy, but we can’t just eat carrots, grapes, and brown rice. I encourage you to try new plants. When you hit the grocery store each week commit to picking up 2 new vegetables and 2 new fruits that you don’t eat that often.

Did you also know that your Gut health is directly related to your brain health? 90% of your serotonin (your happy feelings) is made in your gut. This is a neurotransmitter that is involved in the regulation of sleep, appetite, and aggression. When serotonin is out of range, depression, anxiety, worry, obsessive thoughts and behaviors, carb cravings, PMS, difficulty with pain control, and sleep cycle disturbances can result.

Hello dancers!!! I am telling you the number one thing I see dancers going through is high levels of anxiety, depressing thoughts, and just overall worry. I promise you that if you start eating more Plant-based and strengthen your microbiome, then great things will start to happen. You have to FEED your thoughts and I do that with my lifestyle of being Plant-Based. It has changed my life as a professional Artistic Athlete and as a busy mom for my two little boys.

The last thing to mention is that 80% of your Immune System is made in your gut. Your immune system is your ALLY and best friend dancers. If you don’t have a balanced strong immune system, you are going to miss out on performing, competing, and feeling your absolute best while training. No one likes to sit out when it comes to dancing, so what can we do about it? EAT MORE PLANT-BASED. Get the junk out and start eating real foods. Foods that serve your body and that FUEL YOU. Every day, I get over 55 different plants in my body with the help of eating Juice Plus and I chew as many colors also. My goal each day is to get at least 65 different varieties. It sounds crazy, but it is totally doable.

Message me on Insta or Facebook if you need some plant-based recipes that are simple and totally doable. This holiday season, instead of making sugary processed cookies, why not try energy bites or plant-based cookies. I promise you won’t be disappointed and your dancing gut will say THANK YOU!!!!

References:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microbiome

www.carolinaintegrativemedicine.com/the-importance-of-neurotransmitters-in-brain-health/

 

December 12, 2019 — Caroline Lewis-Jones

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