Our gut health plays a role in every facet of our health. Just think about it, in our lifetime we consume between 30-50 tons of food. We interact with it daily, we eat, digest, absorb, excrete and we also have a micro biome which interacts with our immune system.
Our gut is affected and effects every factor that causes chronic disease. For example the food we eat, the amount of movement we get, our sleep quality, how we handle stress, hygiene, our environmental factors and even the company we keep. Gut health is now well understood to be the cornerstone of health and wellbeing. Yet with our western diets, high stress jobs, isolation , poor sleep and lack of nutrient dense foods it is no surprise that many of us have suffered with our gut health. In fact it is most frequently experienced by people and the commonest reason people seek medical advice.
So here are a few signs that your gut might not be as healthy as you think.
Your engine light’s are flashing : the signs of poor gut health
1. Bad breath called halitosis
2. Burping and indigestion
3.Constipation or diarrhoea
5. Low mood, anxiety
6. Catching colds frequently
7. Sugar cravings
8. Acne, eczema
9. Auto-immune conditions
Hippocrates the father of medicine, said “ All disease begins in the gut” he was not wrong as studies show a unhealthy gut is linked to obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, infections, heart disease, depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue, arthritis and cancer.
So do you think its about time we understood it intimately and implement some lifestyle changes? A big fat YES i hear you say!
Let's start from the beginning with what our gut actually does for us!
1. Digest and absorb.
Through the process of digestion and absorption our gut breaks down complex foods into macronutrients ( protein, fat and carbohydrates) and micronutrients via the use of enzymes, bile salts and acids.
2. Has a Protective Barrier
The lining of the gut is made up of tight cells that act to prevent unwanted allergic food particles, toxins and harmful bacteria to be absorbed. Its surface area is larger than a double tennis court. Holy moly!
3. Houses Microbes
There are over 100,000,000,000,000 microorganisms in our gut, yup 100 trillion, affecting our metabolism of sugar, cholesterol and amino acids, regulating our immune system, and even shaping which parts of your DNA manifest and which remain dormant.
4. Has its own nervous and hormonal system
Few people realize that more than 90% of our body’s serotonin is produced in the gut affecting our sleep, mood, memory, appetite and sex drive. Thats why It's known as our second brain, and if your aren't looking after your gut you will see the warning signs pop up in these areas.
Your gut is responsible for the very important job of eliminating unusable parts of food as well as toxic substances via regulating bowel motions and liver detoxification.
So you can see how far-reaching gut health really is right? And why good gut health is the doorway to overall wellbeing!
Health, happiness and harmony.
Dr Amy Carmichael.