Why is Gut Health Important?
On the surface, it may seem that your gut only digests and assimilates and foods, so it becomes absorbable and converts into energy. But, on a deeper level, or should we say, behind the curtain, the gut is responsible for keeping our bodies functioning.
Research also suggests that about 70% of the immune system resides in the gut.
Energy production, skin health, reproductive health, mental health, and waste elimination; all depend on your gut health. Today, the majority experiences gas, bloating, IBS, stomach ache, constipation, and diarrhea. They are all symptoms of unhealthy gut. That is why keeping your gut health in check is paramount.
Your gut speaks to you in many forms. Your cravings, bathroom habits, and recurring illnesses are all symptomatic of underlying gut issues.
With this post, you should gain a better understanding of what your stomach is trying to tell so you can focus on the solution.
3 Things About Gut Health:
- The Brain-gut Connection
The gut-brain connection is real! Did you ever feel like puking right before giving a speech or felt ‘the butterflies’ when you were too anxious? It’s all because of the gut-brain connection. All your emotions affect the stomach because the gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to your feelings and emotions. Anger, sadness, ecstasy, elavaton; they all trigger different symptoms on the gut.
Here’s how this connection works – when you feel hungry, your brain signals the stomach to start producing digestive juices. But, when your gut is out of whack, this communication gets disrupted. The anxiety and negative emotions can further wreak havoc by giving all kinds of mixed signals to the stomach and intestines wherein they remain stimulated unnecessarily.
If you experience GI issues without any evident cause; it’s possible that some unresolved mental health issue needs addressing.
- The Skin-gut Connection
The skin, we know, is the largest organ. It’s made of tiny microorganisms that fight off bacteria to keep infections at bay. It also has a role in ensuring immunity and overall physical health. The trillions of tiny microorganisms that make up the skin communicate with the gut, which the scientists call the ‘gut-skin axis.’
Its purpose is to fight off harmful pathogens that attack the body from the outside. But, this attempt to keep pathogens is only successful when there’s a balance of bacteria, and there resides healthy microbiomes both in the gut and the skin.
- The Deal With Fermented Foods
There’s a close connection between fermented foods and gut health. If you did any research on gut health, chances are you already saw multiple mentions of how fermented foods (better known as probiotics) can aid digestion.
These foods contain live bacteria similar to the microorganism that your gut houses. When you consume probiotics, they increase the population of gut microbiota. In this way, probiotics can fasten up the digestion process.
Sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and yogurt are some popular probiotics. Kombucha and kefir are other popular probiotic drinks. You can also consume apple cider vinegar in water to replenish the bacteria lacking in the gut.
What Are Signs of Gut Health Problems?
When there’s an imbalance of bacteria in the gut, it’s pretty easy to tell. Unhealthy gut symptoms are – gas, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nauseous, stomach pains; to name a few.
Though most of these issues resolve on their own, chronic conditions need medical attention. Sometimes there’s an overgrowth of certain bacteria while the essential ones are lacking. In that case, supplementing or certain medications may do the work.
Most people don’t know, but allergies, food intolerances, brain fog, and constant fatigue are also due to a sick stomach.
A physician may run a battery of tests on the stool sample and digestive enzymes to detect for the overgrowth of harmful bacterial and possible pathogens. If changing your diet and lifestyle and supplementation doest work, it’s best that you talk to a physician.
How to Maintain gut Health
It’s good to consult a physician if your GI issue is chronic. But that won’t suffice. In the long run, you need to make radical lifestyle changes if you want to enjoy gut health that lasts a lifetime.
To that end, you can try a bunch of massively helpful things that should make radical changes on how your stomach functions –
- Follow a balanced diet. That means including around upto 40 grams of fiber in your diet. Include seasonal and local fruits and veggies. Add probiotics.
- Stay well-hydrated. If you have yellow urine or prone to water retention, it’s a sign that you’re not well hydrated.
- Avoid caffeine, smoking, and alcohol.
- Avoid carbonated beverages as they are loaded with sugar.
- Avoid medications when not necessary as they work by killing the good bacteria in the gut. Only take them when necessary.
- Limit red and processed meats
- Eat bone broth and healthy soups that are explicitly cooked to encompass gut-friendly and nutritional properties.
Last but not least – and this one is super important – avoid stress as much as you can. Read positive and lighthearted material. Play with a pet or watch a lighthearted movie. Practice gratitude for developing a healthy mindset which should keep stress and negative emotions at bay.