The Importance of A Healthy Gut
Gut health is so important, and its actually my own poor gut health which lead me to study Nutrition. I find this topic very interesting, and its important for us all to have a basic understanding of why we are hearing so much about this right now in the media and on all of our food advertising.
Where is your gut?
The mouth is actually the first part of the gut. When we eat food, it passes down the throat into the stomach and then into the small intestine. The small intestine is where food is digested and absorbed by the bloodstream.
After that it proceeds into the large intestine, also known as the colon, and the final part of the colon leads on to the rectum, where waste products are stored until they are excreted.
Simply put, that is your gastrointestinal tract – and your gut!
Why is good gut health so important?
More than 2000 years ago, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, announced that all diseases begin in the gut. Of course, he was way ahead of his time, and not many in those days understood or appreciated what he meant.
Research has proved just how right he was, and revealed that gut health is critical to general good health. Studies have also shown that poor gut health contributes to diseases which include diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, and depression.
Several aspects of our modern day lifestyle may directly contribute to the unhealthy gut problem.
Causes of an unhealthy gut:
- Antibiotics, birth control and non-steroid anti-inflammatories, as well as some other medications.
- Diets high in sugars, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods of every description.
- Diets low in fibre.
- Chronic stress and chronic infections.
Symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
- Excessive gas and abdominal bloating.
- Heartburn and/or acid reflux.
- Digestive problems related to what you eat.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
- Ulcerative colitis.
- Lower abdomen pain.
The colon, and the bowel, is a breeding place for stealthy problems which may not become apparent until the ailment is reasonably far advanced.
If you have at least one or more of the above, it could a sign that your gut health needs urgent attention. Get it checked out by a medical practitioner.
The dangers of an unhealthy gut.
An unhealthy gut leads to many disorders which affect the colon’s ability to function properly. It can make you vulnerable to developing some serious ailments.
Here are some of the major problems which could attack you:
- Colon cancer.
- Polyps in the colon which can become cancerous.
- Ulcers of the colon and rectum.
- Irritable bowel syndrome which will not clear up.
- Autoimmune illnesses.
- Poor immune system function.
- Chronic skin problems.
- Chronic digestive troubles.
- Type 2 diabetes.
All of these illnesses are serious, and it is possible that some may lead to long-term, permanent damage to your health if you ignore the symptoms and do not take care of your intestinal tract.
How to maintain a healthy gut.
You diet plays a huge part in promoting and maintaining the health of this vital organ.
Foods which help to restore intestinal health:
- Yogurt, a probiotic known globally for providing healthy gut bacteria.
- Sourdough bread.
- Fermenting products such as pickles, and kefir, which come with built-in probiotics and beneficial bacteria.
- Sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, may not be the tastiest vegetable around, but is loaded with beneficial gut bacteria.
- Researchers at the Louisiana State University recently found that dark chocolate is fermented in the stomach into anti-inflammatory compounds which are beneficial to both the gut, and the heart.
- Bananas, lentils and asparagus are also powerful probiotics.
- Lean meat and skinless chicken are excellent as well.
- One of the best ways to maintain gut health is to combine a good-quality probiotic supplement with your diet, and take it on a daily basis.
Foods to avoid:
- All sugars and refined foods made from flour, including processed foods.
- High fat meats and fried food, even the popular French fries!
- Chilli peppers, which give chronic heartburn and negatively affect IBS.
- Alcohol, which is full of sugar and high in acid.
- Caffeine rich drinks like tea and coffee, sodas and energy drinks.
- The lactose intolerant folk must also avoid full-fat dairy products which will aggravate the bowel and cause inflammation.
Manage your stress.
If your lifestyle is stressful, take some steps to manage and reduce your stress for your gut’s sake! Stress itself cannot cause stomach ulcers or chronic bowel disease, but if are stressed by events in your life, it can cause the colon to react in a way which may at times give you diarrhea or constipation.
Try and handle your stress in a responsible way, and never pig out on junk foods to make yourself feel better. It can negatively affect other digestive diseases and make everything in the gut worse.
You can improve your health from the many ailments which affect your daily life. The power of probiotics, and a healthy diet rooted in gut-healing foods can make this possible and restore your health from the inside out.
I have a fun, easy, 5 day mini- course to help you improve your Gut Health. We will talk about 1 simple tip each day that you can change to become a healthy habit! You can get started today, click the button below (its FREE!):
It's so important to take our health into our own hands, if we don't, who is going to do it for us?
Ready to get started? I can't wait to join you on your journey to better health!
Gaylene Gomez, NNCP, C.H.N.