It’s hard to overstate the importance of keeping your gut in peak condition. Food is your fuel, and the gut is responsible for breaking down this food and delivering nutrients to the bloodstream. Plus, up to 80% of your immune system is produced in the gut, along with approximately 95% of your body’s serotonin. A healthy gut helps your immune system and hormones function properly, leaving you less prone to illness and health complications.
Let’s dive a little deeper into gut health:
What is the gut?
From ingestion to elimination, the gut ensures the proper movement of food, converts food into energy and manages waste. There are a number of organs and structures that constitute the gut, all of which play a part in digestion:
- Salivary glands
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
What does “good gut health” mean?
The trillions of bacteria in your gut, known collectively as your gut microbiome, is crucial for your overall health. A healthy gut typically means that there are more good (helpful) bacteria than bad (potentially harmful) bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. Maintaining a balance of bacteria in the gut flora keeps your body’s systems running smoothly, protecting you from disease, processing food and nutrients and expelling waste. Good gut health can also lower your chance of obesity and heart disease.
What causes bad gut health?
Poor gut health is the result of an excess of harmful bacteria in the gut flora. An unhealthy gut may manifest as gastrointestinal symptoms, such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Some of the most common factors that lead to poor gut health include:
- Long-term use of antibiotics and antacids killing the good bacteria that live in your gut. These medications also decrease B12 in the gut, which is crucial for cell production, brain function and energy. While antibiotics and antacids can help with certain conditions, it’s important to only use them as directed.
- Poor nutrition, like the excess consumption of processed foods and sugars, can harm the good bacteria in your gut, and even contribute to inflammation throughout the body.
- Travel may disrupt digestion as a result of time changes, altered eating schedules and impaired sleep.
- Food poisoning can affect the gut microbiome, disrupting the balance of bacteria and complicating digestion.
How can I improve my gut health?
Digestion plays a role in a variety of bodily functions, so it’s no surprise that good gut health helps keep your body in tip-top shape. Replenishing your gut microbiome might seem like a tall task, but your body will thank you for it — having a healthy gut comes with wide-ranging health benefits like improved skin, reduced stress levels, better sleep and balanced energy. To learn more about optimizing your gut health, be sure to sign up for our March Group Visit, The Pillars of Gut Health, taking place March 21 at 5:30p.m. to learn more!
In the meantime, here are some of the best ways to boost your gut health:
- Eat a diverse range of healthy food to develop a diverse gut microbiome
- Increase fiber intake by eating plenty of vegetables, legumes, beans and fruit
- Eat fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi to enhance microbiome function
- Eat prebiotic food to promote the growth of beneficial bacteria
- Increase your intake of whole grains to support good bacteria in the gut
- Consume probiotics to help improve microbiome function
Good gut health keeps your body running efficiently, protects you from a number of chronic diseases and can even boost your mood. Ready to boost your microbiome and live a healthier life? Call 303.327.7300 or request a consultation online today to get started.