Many facets of modern life, such as high stress levels, lack of sleep, eating processed and high-sugar foods, and taking antibiotics, can damage our gut microbiome. This in turn can affect other aspects of our health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the development of the cancer.
An unhealthy gut can manifest itself in many ways. Here are 7 of the most common signs
1. Upset stomach
Stomach disorders such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can all be signs of a sick gut. A balanced intestine will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.
2. A diet high in sugars
A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can cause increased sugar cravings, which can further damage your gut. High amounts of refined sugars, including high fructose corn syrup, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body. Inflammation can be the precursor to a number of diseases and even cancers.
3. Unintended weight changes
Gaining or losing weight without changing your diet or exercise habits can be a sign of poor gut health. An imbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat. Weight loss can be caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, while weight gain can be due to insulin resistance or the urge to overeat due to a decrease in blood sugar. absorption of nutrients.
4. Trouble sleeping or constant fatigue
An unhealthy gut can contribute to sleep disorders such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. Intestinal damage can therefore affect your ability to sleep well. Certain sleep disorders have also been linked to a risk of fibromyalgia.
5. Skin irritation
Skin conditions like eczema can be linked to a damaged gut. Inflammation of the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies can lead to increased “leakage” of certain proteins from the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and lead to conditions such as eczema.
6. Autoimmune diseases
Medical researchers are constantly finding new evidence of the gut’s impact on the immune system. It is thought that an unhealthy gut can increase systemic inflammation and impair the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases, where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.
7. Food intolerances
Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different from a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It is believed that food intolerances may be due to poor quality bacteria in the gut. This can lead to difficulty digesting trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. There is some evidence that food allergies may also be linked to gut health.
7 things you can do for your gut health
1. Lower your stress level
High and chronic stress levels are hard on the whole body, including the gut. Ways to reduce stress include meditation, walking, massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, reducing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or presence of a pet.
2. Get enough sleep
Insufficient or poor quality sleep can have a serious impact on your gut health, which in turn can contribute to other sleep issues. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night as a priority.
3. Eat slowly
Chewing your food well and eating more slowly can promote complete digestion and nutrient absorption. It can help you reduce digestive discomfort and maintain a healthy gut.
4. Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the intestinal lining and the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Staying hydrated is a simple way to support gut health.
5. Take a prebiotic or probiotic
Adding a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to your diet can be a great way to improve your gut health. Prebiotics are “food” to support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, while probiotics are live good bacteria. Not all probiotic supplements are high quality or actually beneficial. It’s best to consult your healthcare provider when choosing a probiotic or prebiotic supplement to get the best results for your health.
6. Check for food intolerances
If you have symptoms such as cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, rash, nausea, fatigue, and acid reflux, you may have a food intolerance. You can try eliminating common trigger foods to see if your symptoms improve. If you can identify one or more foods that are contributing to your symptoms, you may see a positive change in your digestive health by changing your eating habits.
7. Change your diet
Reducing the amount of processed foods high in sugars and fats you eat can contribute to better gut health. Additionally, a diet rich in plant-based foods and lean proteins can have a positive impact on your gut. A high-fiber diet has been shown to contribute greatly to the health of the gut microbiome.
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