Do you suffer (or have suffered) from some type of digestive disorder;
- Irritable bowel
- reflux or gas
If the answer is yes, you are not alone, around 50% of the UK population have at least one digestive issue at any one time.
Some of us don’t even realise the extent that digestive problems can have on us.
This is why it is so important to maintain a healthy gut at all times, not just to avoid the adverse symptoms that come with but also to ensure overall optimal health.
Gut not in balance? Book a Free Gut Health Consultation Today
All processes in the body can be linked to the gut.
The health of your gut ultimately determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, microbes and allergens are kept out of the body which can have a direct impact on total body health.
There are three key factors to gut health; digestion, absorption and assimilation and they all need to be functioning optimally to ensure proper intestinal heath.
Much of the quality of gut health is governed by the vast array of species and numbers of bacteria found in your intestines.
They regulate and facilitate many chemical processes including digestion, vitamin production, production healing compounds and hormone regulation. There are certain strains of bacteria that if allowed to over produce can lead to some serious health conditions.
Another huge aspect of gut health is the fact that it houses one layer of cells called the GALT (gut-associated lymphoid tissue) which makes up around 70% of the immune system. It protects your body from the toxic external environment, therefore it is vital to ensure it does not become damaged as it can lead to inflammation and disease.
Our Gut = Our Second Brain
The gut has also been likened to a ‘second brain’, or the gut nervous system. This is due to the high number of neurotransmitters that are found in your brain.
Messages travel between the gut and the brain and can be linked to stress, allergens, poor digestive function. The state of the nervous system can also impact on the function of the gut as a whole.
On a more basic cellular level the gut has to get rid of all the toxins produced as a byproduct of the waste that is created through metabolism in the liver. If this process is hindered or impacted, toxicity within the body can build up.
As well as this there is the everyday function of simply breaking down all food into its individual components and ensuring the vitamins and minerals are absorbed into the blood stream to keep the body functioning well.
Why might your gut not be balanced?
- Poor diet choices; low fibre, high sugar, processed foods, nutrient poor and high calories are all key factors in an unbalanced and poorly functioning digestive system.
- Stress can have a huge impact on the gut nervous system which can potentially lead to a leaky gut and altered microbiome (bacteria in the gut)
- Overuse of medications and pills that can interfere or damage the normal function of the digestive system; steroids, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and acid blocking drugs are the worst offenders
- Chronic low-grade infections or gut imbalances leading to an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine, parasites or yeast overgrowth
- Toxins from exposure to environmental pollutants and also through diet; foods like tuna.
It is important to emphasise that many diseases that seem totally unrelated including eczema, arthritis and psoriasis are actually caused by gut issues. By healing and treating the problem with the gut, these disease processes can often be reversed or avoided.
Here’s our guide on how to achieve optimal gut function:
- Eat unprocessed, whole foods including plenty of fibre from vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and wholegrains.
- If you suspect food sensitivities, try eliminating gluten, dairy, yeast, corn, soy products and eggs for a week or two and see how you feel. You can re-introduce them one by one and notice how your body reacts.
- Take digestive enzymes with your food to help your body with the process of breaking food down at meal times. This should relieve symptoms of bloating and burping.
- Watch portion sizes. Often we overeat in one sitting which can be quite a strain on our digestive system. Eat smaller meals more often and see if you can digest your food more easily with no adverse reactions.
- Take probiotics daily to boost the healthy bacteria in your gut. Look for a product with a broad range of strains and high volume of bacteria per capsule.
- Get tested for infections, bugs of overgrowth of parasites or microbes. Then with the guidance of a practitioner, seek treatment to clear your system.
- Take omega-3 fatty acid supplements to aid in the reduction of inflammation through the body but it will specifically target the gut too.
- Consider taking gut-healing nutrients such as glutamine (an important amino acid key to the repair or the gut lining) and zinc which is a co-factor in immune health and therefore impact on the GALT.
Need to talk to a professional?
Book Your Free Gut Health Consultation Today
Topics Related To Gut Health:
- Gut Health - Common Gut Probelms
- Gut Health - Is My Gut in Balance?
- Leaky Gut and Grains (and why to avoid them)
- The Gut at the Centre of your Health
- Gut Health - Good Health Starts in the Gut
- New Study Shows a Gluten Free Diet Influences Gut Health
- Gut Health - Fasting For Gut Health
- Gut Health - Antibiotics and Gut Health
- The Gremlins in Your Gut
- IBS: Could the FODMAP Diet Transform Your Life?
- Highlights: Spotlight on Digestion
- Control IBS With These 7 Foods