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Using Good Nutrition as a Guide to a Healthy Fantasy Season

By Stephen Pratt, L.M.F.T.

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I finished reading several articles from a health magazine on how to promote a healthy gut. This was a
special health edition put out by Dotdash Meredith Premium Publishing. The articles focused on the
power of a healthy gut, probiotics, prebiotics and how to best take care of you gut. The information is
beneficial for any lifestyle, and would certainly keep you as a fantasy player in tip-top condition. I
believe it is another way to stay on top of your competition as you move through a long season like
fantasy baseball.

Inside all our stomach at any moment are trillions of bacteria, and other microorganisms known as
microbiomes. These microorganisms play an important role in our overall health. Samantha Cassetty,
MS, RD states in one article “A healthy gut is really the key to a healthy body and mind.” Scientists
now see our guts as a second brain. There is a clear connection between your brain and the
gastrointestinal tract. This is referred to as the “gut-brain axis.” The primary pathway of this axis is
the Vegas nerve. This important nerve does not make you want to go out and gamble, however it
connects your brain to your gastrointestinal tract. Research is now showing that your brain affects your
gut health and vice-versa. The gut-brain axis will impact our moods and immune system. In fact, 70%
of our immune system can be found in the digestive tract. With that in mind, your stomach health will
impact your overall quality of health.

Here are some ways to become a healthy and happy fantasy participant. The best way to give your gut
a boost and keep microbiomes healthy is through probiotics. These are “good” bacteria like the ones
you find in your gut. The best way to get them is through food. Probiotics are found in products like
yogurt, aged cheeses, and fermented vegetables like kimchi and sauerkraut. It would be beneficial to
add prebiotics found in fruits and vegetables like bananas, onions, garlic, asparagus, wheat products
like breads, flour and pasta and finally artichokes. Also make sure to get plenty of fiber to keep your
immune system strong.

Along with the healthy diet, it is important to get plenty of exercise. This activity will have a positive
impact on your microbiome. Working out has shown many benefits for your heart, brain health and
mood. Exercise can hike up the diversity and number of good bacteria. Low impact movement
activities include brisk walking, light jogging and dancing. Any and all movement helps gut health.
Another important factor is getting good sleep. Lack of sleep has been associated with a whole host of
medical problems, including obesity. Sleep deprivation will create changes in your microbiome. We
tend to crave a lot of sugar or carbs when we are not well-rested. Here your body is trying to get a
“quick hit of energy.” That said, having a good sleep hygiene routine is a helpful practice.

High stress can be damaging to your gut health. When our bodies sense stress, it will go into the fight
or flight mode shifting resources and energy to pump the heart faster and elevate breathing. It is a big
reason why so many people have stomach issues when agitated. Some suggestions to de-stress are a
long run or hike, being in nature or spending quality time with your pet.

I found the information contained in these articles from the special heath edition to be fascinating.
There appears to be solid evidence behind the gut-brain axis and our overall health. A healthy
stomach is the key to a healthy body and mind. Using this information can only help you stay sharp
mentally and physically throughout a fantasy season. I hope anyone reading this benefits from it, and
considers putting into practice the information contained in this article.

As Mahatma Gandhi states, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony.” Gut-brain health
will be a good way to experience this type of harmony. Eat hearty my friends.

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