“Are you absorbing and digesting the nutrients? Just eating the right food isn’t always enough.”

Maggie Awad

What You will learn

  • How to get started in analyzing your gut health.
  • Maggie’s advice on how to fight inflammation during the healing process of an injury.
  • Quick, practical tips on how to optimize your gut.

You ever wonder how your gut health could influence your performance? And if you are looking to improve your performance through optimizing gut health, where do you start? In this episode, Nurse Practitioner Maggie Awad is here to help us navigate these questions speaking from her experience working with pro athletes.

Maggie began her career as a nurse but soon realized the traditional medical model was not enough to provide high quality care. She eventually decided to pursue a master’s as a Nurse Practitioner focusing on functional, integrative medicine at Texas Women’s University.

Over the years she has focused her efforts by optimizing gut health to improve performance for professional athletes. Her approach is to take a deep dive in biomarkers including blood, stool, and urine to then create an integrative plan that focuses primarily on food, sleep, and supplementation. Maggie currently is providing care for her clients at Elevate – a functional medicine performance practice.

Listen here – Finding Small Wins Podcast:

010 | Maggie Awad: Optimizing Gut Health for Better Performance

Notable Quotes

“So much of the immune system is part of the gut.”

Maggie Awad

“(For an injury) Inflammation is not a bad thing; chronic inflammation is the problem; we want acute inflammation.”

Maggie awad

Key Takeaways:

[1:40] Maggie shares how she became interested in gut health and how she included it in her practice.

[4:41] Three questions you should ask when there is an injured athlete.

[6:00] Why does Maggie find so much value in caring for gut health?

[8:31] Maggie shares what she looks at when diagnosing someone’s gut health.

[9:48] What does Maggie do first when she finds a nutritional deficiency in a patient?

[11:45] You could be eating too many fermented foods; Maggie confesses she is not a Kombucha fan.

[12:42] Maggie explains why people take too many probiotics.

[14:23] Maggie shares perspective on antibiotics.

[15:40] What is the difference between food sensitivity and food allergy?

[19:03] Achieving the optimal sleep schedule can be challenging for a professional athlete.

[22:09] What are the essential nutrients necessary for good bone health?

[23:31] Maggie shares a pro athlete’s expected Vitamin D levels.

[24:15] What is the relation between vitamin K and vitamin D?

[24:42] What is the role of the two types of magnesium?

[26:26] Iron levels are very important for bone health.

[28:07] What are the recommended key nutrients and supplementation for the treatment of  bone stress reaction?

[32:44] Why do some athletes swell more than others from the gut health perspective?

[36:01] The brain-gut access

[37:41] What can an athlete do to fight swelling? First, eliminate sugars and alcohol.

[40:18] Why is acute inflammation necessary for healing?

[41:20] Maggie is a fan of omega 3.

[43:36] What is the influence that alcohol has on the gut?

[44:50] Maggie shares her perspective on caffeine and its link to gut health.

[49:08] Maggie speaks of the benefits of having a stool test.

[51:04] How does Maggie help her client find their small wins through treatment?

[53:42] How does Maggie define a small win?

[55:55] Rapid fire questions with Maggie to know more about your gut health: How many times a day do you poop? Are you drinking enough water? Eating enough fiber?

Must have: Prebiotic foods, garlic, onions, apples, asparagus, yogurt, and kefir.

The worst foods: sugar, fruit juices, alcohol

The worst modern-day myth: Gut health is all about food (not at all! It is a lifestyle!)

What can parents do? Don’t buy fruit juice! Try to get fun with food.

Adam Loiacono

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