Gut health is the main component of a healthy life. The gut is where your body processes nutrients and elements from everything that you eat and the gut ensures your overall well-being. Most of our health problems can be traced back to how healthy our gut is or what it is lacking. Taking charge of what we’re putting into our bodies is what defines how healthy a life we can lead. Want to learn what makes gut health so important? Read on.
Importance of good gut health
Our gut houses more than 100 trillion bacteria. Don’t be alarmed by the number, this is what’s essentially keeping us functioning! Let’s break this down for you. Gut bacteria benefit our health in a plethora of ways. Their functions include regulating our gut mobility, absorbing minerals, producing vitamins, and getting rid of toxins, to name a few. So naturally, if your gut is not in optimum health, your body suffers in some way or another. Your hormones, metabolism, and immune system as well as the day-to-day functioning of your entire body are affected. These problems in functioning can manifest themselves as symptoms like diarrhea, brain fog, joint pain, inflammation, etc. All of these factors are what make gut health so imperative for optimum well-being.
Some signs of an unhealthy gut:
– Frequent stomach problems
One of the common signs of gut inflammation are bloating, gas, constipation, acid reflux, among a few others. It denotes that your stomach is having a hard time processing or eliminating the food you eat. It can also be a sign that your gut is unable to produce enough acids required to carry out regular digestion.
– Unintentional weight changes
When your gut is healthy, it easily processes your food and eliminates waste and toxins the way it should. Unless you’re on a diet, any other fluctuations in your weight may be a sign of issues in your gut. Your gut microbiome can play an active role in weight loss or weight gain. If you’re eating as your normally would but are still seeing a slow increase or decrease in weight, your gut may be lacking the healthy bacteria that carried out a seamless functioning of your system.
– Skin issues
If your skin tends to break out upon consumption of certain foods, your gut may be unable to process those certain foods. Food that is high in refined sugar or is highly processed gives rise to an imbalance in the gut bacteria and contributes to a variety of skin issues like acne, rosacea, dry or oily skin, etc.
– Sugar cravings
A high intake of processed foods and sugary foods is to blame for the sugar cravings that you may have. These foods are ripped of essential fiber and nutrients and can over time impact the number of good bacteria in your gut and give rise to inflammation. Inflammation not only gives rise to more sugar cravings but also promotes the growth of microbes that act as precursors to a wide range of diseases and indigestion issues.
– Compromised immunity
Did you know that the power of your immune system stems from the gut? With gut imbalances, your immune system is going to have difficulty functioning the way it normally does. Even certain bacteria in the gut upon multiplication can contribute to immune imbalance and create other health issues.
How can you fix it?
To fix gut health, we have to identify what’s causing gut health imbalance. Some of the factors can be stress, frequent medication use, food allergies, excessive alcohol intake, & overconsumption of processed foods.
To reverse the effect these factors have on our gut health, here are some things you can do!
1. Include more whole foods in your diet
Eating whole foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains gives you the daily essential dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals – all the things that fuel the good bacteria in your gut and may also work as a natural laxative. Aim for a major serving of veggies and fruits and replace your snacks with nuts and seeds every day. Your gut will thank you.
2. Increase your collagen-rich food intake
A collagen is a form of protein that helps replenish your skin and gut health without overburdening your gut in the process of digestion. Research shows that collagen can improve gut health and reduces bloating if taken daily along with a balanced diet. For a protein that improves gut health and also replenishes your skin health, you can consider adding a collagen supplement to your diet.
3. Get your daily dose of prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics along with digestive enzymes are crucial components of keeping the gut functioning smoothly. Probiotics are rich in good bacteria that help maintain the gut flora while prebiotics stimulate the growth of more healthy gut bacteria. Consuming a supplement that nourishes you with the goodness of both prebiotics and probiotics can considerably improve your gut health.
4. Get enough sleep
To ensure seamless functioning and to give the body ample time to rest and carry out its daily tasks perfectly, 7-8 hours of sleep is a must. To ease into a good sleep routine, try sleeping and waking up at the same time every day. This also helps the body maintain its circadian rhythm and improves cognitive function.
5. Incorporate exercise into your regime
According to studies and research, exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on gut physiology, reducing the risk of colon cancer, and even inflammatory bowel disease. It also keeps you in a healthy shape thereby reducing weight and obesity-related pathologies and also helps balance the microflora in the gut. Along with exercise, supplementation that balances the gut flora can help expedite the process too.
Many lifestyle factors can contribute to impairment in the proper functioning of our gut. However, it’s not the end of the world. With healthy practices and a balanced intake of nutrition through food and supplements, gut health can be restored, letting you lead a healthy life.