Most digestive problems like gas, bloating, and constipation are easy to ignore, but they can cause serious issues if not taken into account properly. As the body ages, it naturally slows down and gastroenterologists could attest. Thus, discussing what is gut health and its importance in the body should be a regular discussion.
Your gut health changes and the usual causes are shifts in your gut immunity, stomach acid, and your gastrointestinal flora which is known as a complex ecosystem in which the bacteria in your system thrive.
The medical community continuously researches the complexity of the gut and how it evolves each time depending on a person’s lifestyle and diet. Studies show that nurturing a variety of good bacteria is what enhances the function of the immune system. It’s also the key to improving any signs of depression, obesity, among others.
What is gut health and its importance
What is gut health? It is common to see medical literature explaining it. It’s also a term that the food industry utilizes often. Gut health features the positive characteristics of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract which when you nourish properly, can be an effective relief for digestion and food absorption. Balancing these microorganisms that cultivate in the digestive tract is valuable for your physical and mental health.
The relationship of the stomach, esophagus and intestines enables you to digest the food you eat comfortably. It may sound simple but in the United States alone, there is an estimate of 70 million people who suffer from digestive issues. Imagine how it could be for the rest of the world.
Gut health and its relation to mental health
There seems to be a new era in the medical field that takes interest in an often forgotten organ in the body and its relation to health and disease – the gut microbiota. Imagine a busy sidewalk filled with different kinds of people rushing to go where they need to in the morning, and you’re seeing the microbiome in your body on a microscopic level.
The microbiome system features not only the bacteria in your system, but also trillions of organisms that include viruses, parasites, and fungi. When you are healthy, these bugs interact peacefully and they would positively affect your body. In fact, they already call microbiome as the supporting organ as this community has a role to play in ensuring that your body maintains equilibrium in energy metabolism. Any changes or alterations in this equilibrium state such as a “leaky gut” may contribute to mental disorders.
Healthy ways to take care of your gut
When you eat, your body breaks down the food that you put in your body so that it turns into a simple form. It then enters your bloodstream so that it delivers nutrients in your system. You have a healthy gut when it is capable of warding you off from infectious agents like fungi, viruses and bacteria. Furthermore, when your gut is healthy, it reflects on your whole well-being.
What are the simple ways to take care of your gut anyway? Balancing your gut flora is the key to a healthy microbiome. To achieve this, eat the right kinds of food. Include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes in your diet. You should also squeeze in the right amount of prebiotic and probiotic in your meals. Some supplements wouldn’t hurt too, but limiting the antibiotics would be awesome for the good bacteria in your gut.
The signs that your gut is unhealthy
How do you tell when you have an unhealthy gut? Parrish explains that there are many indicators of an unhealthy gut and these are weight changes, fatigue, food cravings, upset stomach, autoimmune conditions, skin irritation & allergies, mood issues and migraines. They are usually manifested as follows:
When your gut is in trouble, you might unintentionally gain or lose weight even sans an exercise or diet routine. Be careful because this kind of change also suggests an unhealthy gut. This impairs your body to properly absorb nutrients, process fat, and control blood sugar. SIBO, or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, causes weight loss because of insulin resistance.
If you find yourself experiencing constant tiredness even if you just woke up in the morning, you might be under fatigue and a gut problem normally triggers this. The gut produces this serotonin which activates in the brain. Since the body is interconnected, this would affect your sleep and mood.
Having an unhealthy gut pushes you to crave for unhealthy foods. You’ll want sugar, and you might eat much of it so you can feed the bad bacteria in your body. But, loading with sugar such as high-fructose corn syrup stirs inflammation that risks you to experiencing other kinds of diseases.
When you have an upset stomach, you experience frequent bloating, constipation, discomfort, heartburn and diarrhea. All of these are an indication that you’re giving your gut a hard time breaking down the food you eat and eliminating toxins from your body.
Scientists continue to confirm that there is a particular gut microbe that activates autoimmune disease during an experiment with mice, and they also found the same microbe in humans who suffer from autoimmune diseases.
Skin Irritation and Allergies
Skin irritation such as eczema is also an indication of a damaged gut. A poor diet, or food allergies may bring this problem. There might also be an protein leak increase in your digestive track out of your body which irritates the skin and prompts certain conditions.
Your gut bacteria have a role to play in your overall mood and mental health and one of the reasons is because there is a system of gut microbiomes in your colon. When you take care of it, you relieve any signs of anxiety, stress, and depression. Doing the opposite will have a detrimental effect on your mood.
Some studies imply that migraine may come from the sudden disruption of the microbiota in your gut, and these differences in the mix of your bacteria may be a trigger to your severe headache. Food sensitivity can be the reason for this.
How to improve gut health naturally
You can find your gut in your small and large intestines. This system features trillions of microbial cells that build your microbiome. This is the community of bacteria that plays an important role in affecting the way you break down nutrients and digest food. Anybody who experiences metabolic issues such as Gaucher disease should keep their gut microbiome healthy for this is the answer to managing inflammation.
Improving your eating habits is a crucial place to start. When you clean up your gut, you’re helping your body reach homeostasis, or simply achieve balance. That way, your internal body organs don’t have to work harder which normally happens when there’s gut inflammation. The most natural way to improve your gut health is to watch what you eat and drink. Your food choices directly impact your gut microbiome.
That said, your food diet should be a good balance of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables that help promote good bacteria in your gut. There are healthy fats and carbohydrates you can consume from grains as well as good sources of protein to maintain a healthy gut. This means avoiding sugars and processed foods and having a good understanding of a FODMAP diet that can affect your gut health.
Gut health is all about balance
It’s important to have a holistic view of the importance of gut health so you can enjoy your journey of health and wellness. Cognitive Health and Wellness Institute promotes quality of life with length of life. Hence, it’s good to have wisdom in eating moderately with diverse food choices. A balanced diet helps your digestive system to function properly, and the rest of your body to work more seamlessly.
In fact, a healthy gut may just be what you need to improve your mental health. There are various articles showing information linking gut health and depression, for example. And, as briefly mentioned above, gut health can affect your mood and send messages to your brain, too. The bacteria in your gut can influence your behavior through the neurotransmitters in your gut.
You have to keep in mind that you’re “eating for your gut.” There’s less risk of chronic illnesses when you choose the right food and live a healthier lifestyle. It feels so much better and lighter when you have good digestion.
So, make sure you have the right nutrition and consciously restore your gut health with a fiber-rich diet, for instance. Again, balance is key. Don’t limit yourself to only one food group or just one diet program depriving yourself of savory and nutritious foods. Get acquainted with different choices and diverse, nutrient-dense foods that are good for your gut.