In the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, when an injured Kerri Strug stuck her infamous one-leg landing from the vault (her other ankle was badly twisted in a previous round) to clinch a gold medal, she proved just how gutsy great athletes can be.
Now researchers actually have gone and probed athletes' guts to discover what goes on in there - and they've found that all that exercise (plus a diet with lean protein and fiber-rich fruits and veggies) builds a super-healthy mix of intestinal bacteria, essential for regulating blood sugar, keeping the immune system strong and protecting you from cancer and other chronic diseases.
Testing a team of Irish rugby players, researchers found that the athletes had an abundance of a bacteria - A. muciniphila - scrumming in the mucus lining of their intestines; it's known to help prevent obesity and diabetes.
Seems that exercise is good for you, in part, because it helps promote a positive environment for your gut bacteria. And you don't need to join a rugby club to get the benefits.
Gut-Friendly Activity: We suggest you aim for 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent (1 minute of aerobics equals 100 steps), and 20-30 minutes two to three times a week of strength-building, using stretch bands or hand weights.
Gut-Lovin' Diet: Lean protein from skinless poultry and fish such as salmon, plus fiber-rich PREbiotics (that's what makes good probiotics thrive), found in bananas, asparagus, onions, garlic, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichokes, jicama, barley, berries, tomatoes, honey, flaxseed, beans and pectin-containing apples.
Now you're good and gutsy!
© 2014 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
© King Features Syndicate