Gut health is the foundation of a wholesome, healthy being. Your physical, mental, sexual, hormonal, skin health and even immunity depends on your gut. How well the stomach can digest food, absorb nutrition, and protect your body from harmful invaders.
Your gut starts with the mouth and forms the entire tract up to the anus. In between, you have the liver, gallbladder, and intestine, which house all kinds of trillions of tiny microorganisms that break down the food.
But, what exactly is gut health? It’s hard to tell the literal definition – but, ideally, it’s when there’s a diversity of healthy bacteria residing in your stomach. Gut health is a delicate balance between the ideal growth of different bacteria essential for the digestive process.
When this ‘gut microbiota’ is disrupted (meaning there’s a lack of a healthy microbiome and an overgrowth of unhealthy bacteria) that’s when you call it ‘an unhealthy gut.’ Some of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut are persisting chronic conditions, fatigue, gas, bloating, stomach pain, IBS (to name a few).
7 Different Signs of an Unhealthy Gut:
Some stomach issues now and then like a mild tummy pain or feeling bloated after overeating is normal. But, if you are prone to experiencing all kinds of problems like gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, stomach ache, IBS, etc.; this is a big red flag that some underlying gut issue needs your attention.
Over the years, many studies tried to establish the relationship between autoimmune conditions and gut health. It is becoming more and more apparent that the two are linked closely. Even conditions like MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and liver disease are due to persistently low gut health. An unhealthy gut is the leading cause of systemic inflammation, which alters the immune system’s functioning, thus making the body start attacking healthy cells rather than harmful invaders.
There’s a growing body of evidence that links mood disorders to gut health. Even mental health issues like anxiety, dementia, schizophrenia, and depression link with poor digestion.
If you have a ton of food intolerances this is another sign that your gut health is out of whack. A lot of people have trouble processing foods like gluten, dairy, and sugar. But, if your list of trigger foods is particularly long, you should seek medical help. The reason you’re not able to digest food is due to the imbalance or missing gut microbiota.
Skin Problems Like Eczema
Often people experience conditions like hives, itchy skin, and inflammatory conditions like eczema. These skin conditions are also due to a disrupted gut microbiome. The skin communicates with the gut to avoid bacterial invasion from the outside. But, a poor stomach has a dysfunctional ‘gut-skin-axis’ wherein the two are not communicating correctly. This makes skin prone to all kinds of inflammatory conditions.
Food intolerance (which is a result of lack of necessary bacteria) is another cause of skin problems which needs investigating.
How to Improve Your Gut Health:
Not a total shocker, movement, as we all know, is super crucial for a strong stomach. It keeps the stomach muscles healthy and flexible. According to a review, regular exercise like aerobics can improve the overall bacteria in your gut and aid diversity.
If you are not into the habit of regular movement, start slowly. Try to get light exercise for 4-5 days a week, gradually making it a part of your routine lifestyle.
Eat Fermented Foods
It’s the ‘gut health gospel.’ Fermented foods are the holy grail of all that’s good for a strong and healthy stomach. Fermented foods go through a process wherein they develop the very bacteria that resemble the gut ecosystem. Some of the best-fermented foods for gut health are –
- Pickled veggies
Many of these foods are loaded with lactobacilli – a bacteria that aids digestion.
Regular consumption of these foods will elevate the levels of the ‘good bacteria’ in the intestine while fighting the growth of Enterobacteriaceae – bacteria that links to numerous chronic illnesses and high levels of inflammation.
Eat a Plant-based Diet
There’s a massive difference between how animal-based and plant-based foods impact the intestinal bacteria.
Studies show that plant-based or vegetarian diets immensely benefit the gut microbiota. Part of the reason could be high fiber content, which acts like a brush keeping the intestine clear while feeding the good bacteria and eliminating waste material more smoothly.
This particular study shows that a vegan/vegetarian diet may reduce cholesterol, fight inflammation, and disease-causing pathogens.
Get Enough Sleep
If you’re chronically stressed or sleep-deprived – there’s a good chance that you’re suffering from gut health. People with poor gut health have a hard time sleeping. They are also more prone to experiencing anxiety and mood disorders, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. This can further exacerbate the problem causing a vicious cycle.
Committing to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep could do wonders for your stomach health.
All and all, you can see that a healthy gut is the foundation of a healthy being. It massively impacts all aspects of your life. Therefore, if you suffer from some chronic gut condition, it is high time to get tested and start taking some corrective measures.