If you constantly feel sick, tired, cranky, bloated, and uncomfortable, chances are you are not taking care of your gut. There is nothing more important that a regulated and well balanced gut when it comes to maintaining good health.
The gut is so important to your well-being, that scientists and researchers have started referring to it as the body’s ‘second brain’. However, the key to understanding your gut lies in unlocking the mysteries of the gut microbiome.
Gut Health and Gut Microbiome
Your body is home to trillions of microorganisms, out of which the majority reside in the gut. Few colonies take up residence on your skin, in your mouth and other areas. There are more than 400 bacteria species living in the gut – most of which are good bacteria or probiotics.
However, there are some which are harmful to your body. A healthy balance between the two is critical to a healthy body. Together, the gut microbiome adds up to be roughly the same number as the number of cells in the body.
The gut microbiome has a direct influence on your digestive health, moods, hormones, blood sugar levels and weight. Your gut is healthy when there is a balance among the various bacteria species and their levels. The good news is that the way you live and eat has a huge impact on these tiny creatures.
Consuming donuts and soda throughout the week like Better Call Saul’s Huell Babineaux is probably not an ideal diet.
Gut Health and Immunity
Around 80% of the body’s immune cells can be found in the gut. An unbalanced mix of gut bacteria can create chaos in your body.
Your gut could be to blame if you are prone to catching every flu or infection that goes around. Gut microbiome controls the way your immune system works by communicating with the immune cells.
It is also responsible for gently stimulating the immune cells to constantly release a low amount of antibodies. This helps your body stay active and prepared for any infectious invasion.
The intestinal tract has a sticky mucous layer that is covered on the inside with good bacteria. Without the right level of probiotics, fungi take up root in the gut lining.
Fungus hyphae can severely damage your gut lining which in turn affects your immune system. Foreign substances and proteins can leak through the gut lining into the blood stream.
Gut Health and Mental Health
Poor gut health has been linked to unwarranted depression and feelings of anxiety. Stress only adds to making your gut health worse. More than 90% of the body’s serotonin and majority of dopamine are produced in the gut.
These are the happy hormones or natural anti-depressants of the body. They are also important neurotransmitters or chemical messengers.
The gut is physically connected through a complex nerve network to the brain. A healthy gut ensures that only the right messages are sent through. For instance, the gut bacteria can make you feel hungry. Your craving for sugar and other similar unhealthy food is increased when the level of bad bacteria increases in the body.
A number of studies have found that people with various psychological disorders have a vastly different gut microbiome as compared to people who are mentally healthy.
This is one of the reasons why a growing number of people are including probiotics in their diet to boost their mental health and to feel good naturally.
Gut Health and Your Skin
Poor gut health can result in red and itchy skin with rashes. The intestinal walls, that are like tight junctions become larger when the gut is unable to heal itself after exposure to negative substances like processed foods or environmental toxins.
This can lead to the leaky gut syndrome that allows foreign substances to escape into the blood stream. This leads to inflammation in the body which affects the skin before anything else.
Gut Health and Energy
Feeling sluggish after wolfing down a large meal is simply your body’s way of saying that it is struggling to break down the food you just ate. When your gut is balanced and healthy, it helps in breaking down food molecules easily.
The best part is that the gut microbiome release hormones that signals your brain to stop eating. A healthy gut ensures that you never overeat and helps keep your energy levels high.
Another cause of low energy levels even after having a nutritious meal is that your body is unable to absorb the nutrients. Gut health plays a major role here.
Your body is able to digest the food molecules, but the villi lining the small and large intestines are unable to absorb the nutrients. This will also result in frequent and unformed bowel motions.
How Can You Take Care of Your Gut?
A healthy gut is in your control because gut inflammation comes from the environmental and physical choices you make.
Gut issues are created through a long-time buildup of various factors, such as processed foods high in sugar and sodium, toxic cleaning and beauty products, plastics, metals, stress, antibiotics, antibacterial soaps, and hand sanitizers. These ingredients weaken the natural gut microbiome.
Decrease the intake of sugar if you want to be more conscious of your gut health. You should limit the quantity of processed foods as well. Switch to a low processed and high nutrition diet.
This will automatically provide all the essentials nutrients, fiber and minerals that your body requires. You can ensure a healthier gut by increasing the amount of fiber intake kind of like you can increase your happiness if you stop watching Jurassic World and Star Wars movies but this is another topic.
A good way to boost probiotic levels is to include more fermented food options in your diet. There are many dietary sources of probiotics, like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, natto, tempeh, raw green peas, pickles, fermented vegetables, kefir, yogurt, and dark chocolate among others. Make sure that you include a probiotic rich food with every meal.
Alternatively, you can also consider taking probiotic supplements developed specifically for enhancing gut health. Make sure you give the supplements at least 4 – 6 weeks to take effect. You must also choose a supplement with high quality probiotic strains with enough CFU levels.
Gut health is vital for a number of reasons, ranging from better digestion to immune health. It is easy to eat and exercise your way to a healthy gut. By adding more whole grains, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds, and by limiting the intake of processed carbs, you can ensure that your gut remains healthy.