This article is written by dr. Sohil Guntagani
An unhealthy gut can cause you unmeasurable problems, including the development of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Tremendous research has been made in the past two decades regarding gut health. Researchers have found a direct link between gut health and our hormones, eating habits, mental health, thyroid issues, skin conditions, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer.
That’s why a growing number of healthcare providers focus on improving their patient’s gut health. In this blog, we will talk about the fundamentals of healing your gut.
What is the gut?
Our digestive system comprises of good and bad bacteria, especially inside the intestine – or in other words, our gut. The gut usually has around 300 to 500 different bacteria in a million numbers. Most of these microorganisms help regulate the body functioning. The more the number of good bacteria, the better the functioning of the body. Good gut bacteria actively boost the immune system, fight obesity and cancer, improve your mood and prevent gastric problems like acid reflux, IBS and GERD.
Many factors, both internal and external, affect your gut health. These include your diet, lifestyle, hormones, stress, food allergies, health problems such as diabetes, and medications. These factors determine how your body digests and processes the food you eat.
What damages your gut?
Eating sugary and processed foods, sleeping too little, working too hard, excessive stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and relying on antibiotics often are the primary causes of an unhealthy gut.
A large part of your immune system houses in your digestive tract. So an imbalance in your gut leads to problems with immunity throughout your entire body. A prolonged unhealthy gut can lead to the development of autoimmune diseases, thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalance, heart disease, cancer and an unhealthy brain. What’s more, poor absorption of nutrients leads to nutrient deficiency, weight gain and skin problems.
What are the Common Signs of Gut Problems?
Your gut uses different ways to tell you it is having trouble. Understanding the symptoms is very important. Since your digestive system governs the functioning of many vital organs, fixing your gut is imperative to prevent chronic health conditions.
Here are a few signs of the unhealthy gut that you should never miss or ignore.
1. Weight gain despite working out
If you are gaining weight despite working out regularly and eating a balanced meal, it can be a sign of poor gut health. A poor gut denotes a mis-balance between the good gut bacteria and the bad bacteria. An imbalance in gut bacteria can lead to poor absorption of nutrients, increased blood sugar levels, and fat storage. In turn, poor nutrient absorption or insulin resistance can lead to overeating.
2. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS refers to a wide range of gastrointestinal problems, including upset stomach or severe constipation or both, gas, excessive flatulence, bloating, heartburn, and diarrhea. This happens when the gut is unable to process food and discard waste effectively.
3. High on sugar
High sugary foods does not necessarily mean foods that contain refined sugar. But they are the foods that convert into glucose faster, such as processed foods, desserts, sweets and fried food. High sugar levels can increase body inflammation, the key cause of several health problems, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
4. Fatigue and insomnia
Constant fatigue, poor sleep or insomnia, and tiredness are common signs of poor gut health. Gut imbalance significantly affects the production of positive hormones, such as serotonin. Serotonin affects sleep, emotion, mood and energy. And serotonin is produced in the intestine. So, if you are having any of the above-combined symptoms, it’s your gut crying out for help.
5. Skin problems
Eczema, rashes, pimple and acne are immediate side effects of gut imbalance. These happen when the gut is inflamed due to a lack of nutrient absorption. Even if you apply the world’s best creams and body lotions, these problems will still recur. Unless you treat the root cause, namely your gut.
6. Autoimmune conditions
Studies show that an unhealthy gut can disrupt the functioning of the immune system and develop systematic inflammation. This can develop autoimmune disorders. A state of the body in which the healthy blood cells attack itself instead of external bodies, such as viruses and bacteria. Most times, autoimmune diseases have no treatment.
5 Ways to Improve Your Gut Health
The gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what antibodies are discarded and hence is directly linked to your overall health. Your gut protects your entire body from the toxins your body takes in every day.
To improve your gut health, you must first understand what is causing your gut the imbalance. It could be anything between low fiber, high sugar diet and overuse of medicines, such as NSAID, aspirin, antibiotics and steroids. Here’s how you can heal your gut:
1. Treat food intolerance
Acne, allergies, rashes, dry cough, headache, and skin inflammation are common triggers of food intolerance. Try to eliminate one food at a time to see which food is contributing to your sickness. Once you start working on this, you will see an improvement in your digestive system.
2. Try to eat a balanced meal
Rely less on processed, sugary foods, like pasta, pastries, burgers, instant noodles and fried foods. Instead, eat home-cooked, plant-based foods, such as green veggies, lean protein, dairy, healthy carbs, and lots of fiber.
3. Get enough sleep and physical exercise
You must get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep to improve your gut health. Since stress is an important factor that contributes to impaired gut health, you can reduce stress by working out 5 days a week for 30 minutes at least or by practicing yoga and meditation.
4. Talk to your nutritionist or dietician
If you are not able to figure out the root cause, talk to your nutritionist and get yourself checked. There could be an underlying health problem that is triggering the imbalance.
5. Take probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are good bacteria and prebiotics are the food of good gut bacteria. The best way to boost the levels is by adding supplements in your diet. Yogurt is a good source of probiotics. Take only prescribed supplements to enjoy maximum health benefits.
Modern life has made our lifestyle poor and unpredictable. We choose fast-food over home-cooked meals, late-night movies over eight-hour sleep, and more work over family. These unhealthy practices impair the survival and efficiency of good bacteria. Therefore, the only way out is eating healthy, sleeping well, and maintaining an active lifestyle.
Author Bio: Dr. Sohil Guntagani is a proficient writer who firmly believes in the age-old remedies and holistic medicine as a primary cure for several diseases. After graduating from Rajeev Gandhi University Of Health Sciences, He embarked on a journey to find the truth about holistic and natural remedies. During his travel and research, he found the purpose to enlighten and empower others with this knowledge and help them led a much healthier and stress-free life.
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