In ancient times, many civilizations believed that the gut is the healing source of our body. Now with numerous studies in the past two decades on gut health have proved that. The link between the immune system, mental health, mood, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and gut health is undeniable. Essentially it is just a long tube for our food to pass through, be absorbed, and then excreted. Gut microbiomes are the microorganisms living in your intestines and digestive tract. They break down food and turn nutrients that your body needs. A person has more than 600 different types of species of bacteria in their digestive tract. Some microorganisms are harmful however, the majority of those microorganisms are incredibly beneficial and even necessary for maintaining a healthy body. A healthy gut supports a strong immune system while giving you that healthy sleep and improved mood.
So why are some bacteria’s considered good and others are considered bad?
Gut microorganisms are considered good and bad based on their mechanism and behavior. Their actions and interaction with human physiology determine whether they are useful to a person or are something we should be beware of. Good bacteria have anti-aging effects in addition to health maintenance effects such as aiding in digestion, absorption, and stimulating immunity. For example, certain species of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are linked with control of intestinal infections, improved digestion of dairy-based products, control of serum cholesterol levels but above all control of various types of cancer.
On the other hand, bad bacteria have adverse effects on our health. Some examples are Clostridium perfringens and Escherichia coli. They trigger numerous diseases and promote aging. In addition, the third type of bacteria is known as opportunistic bacteria. They remain dormant but have adverse effects on the gut when the body is weak. Examples include Bacteroidetes and Streptococcus.
Signs of an unhealthy gut
- Having consistent stomach issues- Gut disturbances are common but if you are facing issues like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn regularly, chances are that you have an unhealthy gut. An unbalanced gut finds it difficult to process food and eliminate waste.
- Sudden weight changes- If you have not changed your diet or exercise habits and still are gaining or losing weight, you might have an unhealthy gut. A weak gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. This subsequently leads to an imbalance in BMI. Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) causes weight loss. However, insulin resistance is responsible for weight gain along with the urge to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption.
- Hair fall and nail-related issues- Bad bacteria’s in our gut can lead to abnormal absorption of nutrients and consequently decline protein production especially keratin protein. Keratin protein is the building block of nails and hairs. In the absence of it, nails and hair follicles start to degenerate leading to excessive hair fall and other issues.
- Constant fatigue and lack of energy- Our body repairs when we sleep at night. Our gut produces the hormone serotonin which is responsible for mood and sleep. So bad gut bacteria can impair your ability to sleep well, therefore, leading to constant tiredness.
Easy tips to fix your gut health
Often our day-to-day life presents us with various situations which result in high stress levels and insomnia. This results in various ailments for which we are prescribed antibiotics. In the same vein, we consume highly processed food or sugary snacks. Sometimes we also indulge in alcohol consumption and smoking. All these factors can be damaging to our gut microbiome.
Take probiotics religiously
Adding probiotic foods and supplements to your diet is a great way to improve your gut health. Probiotics are live good bacteria that ensure the best health benefit. Fermented foods such as kimchi, miso, sauerkraut, yogurt, tempeh, and kefir are great and easily available sources of probiotics.
Omega-3 fatty acid-rich food in your diet
Studies have shown that including omega-3 fatty acid-rich food in your diet can help to fight various health-related issues. This includes reducing asthma, depression, rheumatoid arteries, and triglyceride levels. Foods such as salmon, mackerel, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybean, seaweeds, and spinach are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Drink plenty of water
Drinking water has numerous benefits on the lining of the intestines, as well as balances the good bacteria in the gut. Staying hydrated is the cheapest way to promote a healthy gut.
Practice yoga and meditation
Chronic levels of stress are hard on your body, including your gut. Meditation and yoga include a combination of postures and breathwork that can lower stress levels and improve gut health, the cardiorespiratory system. This results in overall healthy body function.
Check for food allergies
If you have persistent symptoms such as cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, rashes, and acid reflux, you may be suffering from certain food allergies. This helps in eliminating common trigger foods to improve your condition.
A healthy gut is a way to a healthy life
From a peaceful mind to a healthy heart and even having a great physical appearance, the gut has a huge impact on whole-body health. It also helps to prevent cancer cell growth and autoimmune diseases. Try adopting lifestyle changes that suit you. It can have a positive effect on your gut health and your overall health as a result.
However, keep in mind that your gut biology might be different from others, so what works for others might not work for you and vice versa. It is advisable to consult your doctor before making any drastic changes in your diet. Many health-related complications are the result of unaware choices. Do proper research on the medical path you take. You can try both naturopathy or allopathy. Though allopathy is a well-researched path, many people are now taking the naturopathic way for gut health. However, the choice is completely yours. So make a well-informed decision and live a healthy life.
Also read: Why is stretching crucial before workouts?