The staggering complexity of gut health and its significance to our general health is a subject that is gaining attention within the medical world. Numerous studies conducted over the past two decades have revealed links to gut health, immune system mental health, mood, autoimmune diseases and endocrine-related disorders, skin diseases and cancer.
In the past, the digestive system was thought to be an essentially “simple” body system consisting of a single tube through which food items could go through to be absorbed and eliminated.
“The term” gut microbiome” refers to the microorganisms that live within your intestinal tract. A person is a home to between 300 to 500 distinct species of bacteria living in your digestive tract. In comparison, some microorganisms pose a threat to our overall health. A lot are extremely beneficial and essential to the health of our body.
As per the Dr E. M. Quigley in his study, regarding gut bacteria published in The Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, having a variety of beneficial bacteria in your gut could improve your immune system’s function and improve the symptoms of depression as well as combat obesity and offer a myriad of other advantages.
What is Gut Health?
When we speak of your body’s gut, we refer to your digestive system, which comprises your small intestine, stomach, and colon. It’s not something you’re aware of that gut health impacts physical and mental well-being and significantly affects how we feel from day today.
Why Gut Health is Important?
The gut, also known as the digestive system or digestive (GI) system, absorbs the food you eat and absorbs nutrients and utilizes those nutrients to power and sustain your body.
“The gut plays an important part in our body’s overall health and well-being,” says Alicia Romano, a certified Clinical Dietitian from Tufts Medical Center located in Boston and spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Alongside digesting food and absorption of nutrition, “the gut is in constant connection with brain cells, constantly playing a phone game and influencing various factors such as immune function, GI muscle contractions and fluid production. Guts are an essential part of the body’s immune system. Over 70 percent of all your immunity cells are within the gut.”
What’s the truth and what’s not regarding the health of your gut?
- Your digestive system will let you know what’s happening inside your body. For instance, frequent pooping is an indication of an overall healthy gut.
- The gut bacteria are influenced by the foods you consume and what you put into your body. For instance, while essential to fight diseases, antibiotics may affect the gut, as they kill ALL bacteria, not just those beneficial to stay healthy.
- A method to mitigate the adverse effect of antibiotics on the stomach is to eat probiotics.
- Probiotics comprise “good” bacteria that can strengthen your immune system, but they’re not all created equal. The most useful sources are those that have been fermented foods like kimchi or sauerkraut.
- Prebiotics are food sources of probiotics. They aid the growth of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. They can be found in vegetables, fruits, and legumes like chickpeas, lentils, etc.
- Insoluble and soluble fibers, like brown rice and oats, can also improve gut health since they aid in digestion, reduce blood sugar and ease stool.
- There isn’t an instant fix or magic solution to a healthy gut. There’s no scientific proof that manuka honey or any other remedy will speedily restore an imbalanced microbiota (the nature of the bacteria within your digestive tract).
- There’s no evidence from a scientific standpoint that colon cleanser improves health or benefits.
- Stress can alter your digestive system. This is why it’s crucial to spend time looking at your well-being.
- There is nothing better than a varied and healthy diet comprised mostly of fruits and vegetables. To determine what food items are beneficial for your health, one can count the number of different food colors, “eat a rainbow every day”.
7 Signs of An Unhealthy Gut
Numerous aspects of our lives, including high-stress levels and sleep deprivation, eating processed and high-sugar food, and taking antibiotics, can harm our gut’s microbiome. This could impact the health of other areas of our lives like the heart, brain and skin, immune system, hormone levels, weight, and the capacity to absorb nutrients and cancer development.
There are numerous ways in which an unhealthy gut could appear. These are the seven most commonly seen symptoms:
1. Stomach upset
Gastric discomfort, constipation, bloating, constipation, heartburn and diarrhea could be symptoms of a poor digestive tract. A healthy gut will be less prone to processing food and eliminating waste.
2. A high-sugar diet
A diet high in processed food items and sugars can lower the number of beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract. This imbalance could increase cravings for sugar and harm your gut even more. A high amount of refined sugars, especially high-fructose corn syrup, have been connected to increased inflammation within the body. Inflammation could be a catalyst for a myriad of ailments and even cancer.
3. Unintentional weight shifts
Losing or gaining weight without changing your food or exercise routines could indicate an unhealthy gut. Unbalanced digestion can affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar levels, and store and use fat. The loss of weight can be due to small intestinal bacteria that have overgrown ( SIBO), and weight gain could result from an insulin-resistant condition or the desire to eat too much due to a reduced intake of nutrients.
4. Tiredness, sleep disturbances, or continuous fatigue
An unhealthy gut could result in sleep disorders like insomnia or bad sleep, which can cause chronic fatigue. The majority of our human body’s serotonin hormone, which influences sleep and mood, is created within the gut. This means that gut problems can hinder your ability to sleep soundly. Sleep disturbances have been associated with the risk of Fibromyalgia.
5. Skin irritation
Skin problems such as eczema could be due to the gut’s condition. Inflammation of the stomach resulting from poor nutrition or food allergies can cause an increase in the “leaking” of specific proteins into the body. This could, in turn, irritate the skin, causing problems like eczema.
6. Autoimmune conditions
Medical researchers are always discovering new evidence for the effect of the gut as the body’s immune system. It is believed that an unhealthy digestive tract can increase inflammation throughout the body and disrupt the normal function of our immune system. This could lead to an autoimmune disease in which the body fights itself rather than the hostile invaders.
7. Food intolerances
Intolerant to food are caused by difficulty digesting certain food items (this is distinct from a food allergy that is the result of the immune system reacting to specific food items). It is believed that low-quality bacteria within the digestive tract can cause food intolerances. This may cause problems digesting triggered food items and uncomfortable symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea. Evidence suggests that food allergies can be linked to the gut’s health.
How to Get Better Gut Health?
- Eat probiotics and fermented food items
- Consume prebiotic fiber
- Limit alcohol intake
- Reduce stress
- Reduce the amount of sugar and sweeteners you consume
- Consume the right food
- Do not take antibiotics for unnecessarily
- Exercise regularly
- Make sure you get enough rest
- Use different cleaning products
- Do not smoke
- Eat a vegetarian diet
- Take a look at a supplement
Gut health is how many microorganisms are in balance and reside within the digestive tract. Maintaining the health of your digestive tract and maintaining the correct balance of microorganisms is essential for mental and physical well-being and immunity, among other things.
The yeasts, bacteria along with viruses among that, there exist trillions of bacteria known as “the “gut microbiome” or “gut flora.”
Many microbes are beneficial to our health and are vital. However, some can be dangerous, particularly when they multiply.
Eat probiotics and fermented food items!
Some people decide to supplement their diet with probiotics to increase healthy bacteria, also known as probiotics, in the digestive tract.
They are sold at pharmacies, health food stores, shops, and the internet.
One research has indicated that taking probiotics could help maintain the gut microbiome healthy and help stop intestinal inflammation and other digestive issues.
Fermented foods are a great natural food source for probiotics.
Regularly eating these foods can improve the health of your gut:
- Fermented vegetables
Consume prebiotic fiber!
Probiotics feed on non-digestible carbohydrates known as prebiotics. This helps beneficial bacteria to grow in the digestive tract.
Research conducted by 2017 found that prebiotics could assist probiotics in adapting to certain environmental conditions, such as temperature and pH fluctuations.
If you’re looking to improve their gut health could want to incorporate more of the below prebiotic-rich food items into their diets:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Whole grains
Control alcohol intake!
Alcohol consumption can adversely impact your microbiome too. Regular alcohol consumption can cause gastritis, which irritates the gut prone to inflammation. The inflammation could lead to frequent discomfort, heartburn, ulcers, and infections caused by bacteria.
Drinking excessively is also linked to intestinal inflammation, which indicates a weakened digestive tract.
Reduce the amount of sugar and sweeteners you consume!
A diet high in sugar or artificial sweeteners can cause gut dysbiosis. This is a symbiosis of microbes in the gut.
The authors of a 2015 study indicated that the traditional Western diet high in fat and sugar could negatively impact the gut’s microbiome. This could affect the brain and the way that it behaves.
Another animal study found that synthetic sweetener aspartame can increase the number of bacterial strains associated with metabolic diseases.
Metabolic disease refers to a group of conditions that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and diabetes.
The Research has also proven that artificial sweeteners may negatively impact blood sugar levels due to their impact on the gut flora. This implies that artificial sweeteners could raise blood sugar levels, although they’re not sugars.
Studies on animal research have shown synthetic sweeteners to cause harm to the microbiome. Rats fed aspartame showed an increase in blood sugar levels and could not utilize the body’s insulin.
A human study also revealed the same increase in blood sugar. For the health of your gut, it might be beneficial to steer clear of artificial sweeteners entirely.
Consume the right food!
A balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits gives the fiber needed to build healthy gut bacteria and improve digestion.
Other food items that help build an ideal digestive system are Kefir (a fermentation-based milk beverage similar to yogurt and rich in probiotics) and fermented or pickled foods (such as sauerkraut, kimchi or the pickled ginger).
Talk to your physician about the foods you eat for specific ailments, such as constipation or constipation.
Controlling the effects of stress is essential for various areas of our health, such as gut health.
Animal studies have found that psychological stressors may alter the microorganisms in the intestines, even though the stress is not long-lasting.
Stress isn’t only a mental issue. Consider the butterflies you feel when you’re happy or worried. Gut health experts often mention stress due to the “gut-brain relationship” and consider the gut “the secondary brain.” Although we don’t know all about their connection, we recognize that the mental state and gut are closely linked.
Studies suggest that the stomach and vice versa influence depression and anxiety. They may make it more likely to develop IBS, and sufferers of IBS have a higher chance of suffering from these mental health problems.
Looking for ways to control your mind’s health and stress level can help ease uncomfortable GI symptoms and help get your body back to its normal state. Are you unsure where to begin? Start by adding some physical exercise into your daily routine. It’s as easy as an hour-long walk every day can boost your gut health since studies show that exercising can increase the quantity and quality of beneficial gut microbes.
In humans, a range of stressors can harm gut health, for example:
- Psychological stress.
- Environmental stress, for example, extreme cold, extreme heat or even noise.
- Sleep deprivation.
- Disturbance in the rhythm of circadian activity.
Some techniques to manage stress include deep breathing, meditation exercises and progressive relaxation of the muscles.
Regular exercise, good sleep and eating a healthy diet can lower stress levels.
Do not take antibiotics unnecessarly!
Although it’s often recommended to use antibiotics to fight bacteria, excessive use is a major public health risk that can cause resistance to antibiotics.
Antibiotics can also be detrimental to gut macrobiotic and immune system research. One study reports that the gut is still deficient in many beneficial bacteria even six months after antibiotics.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Doctors within the United States prescribe around 30 percent of antibiotics that are not needed.
Therefore the CDC suggests that patients discuss alternatives to antibiotics with their physician before using them.
Regular exercise can contribute to good heart health and weight loss or maintenance. Research has also suggested that it may also improve gut health, which may, in turn, help control obesity.
Training for a workout can boost the diversity of species. A 2014 study discovered that athletes had a greater range of gut flora than non-athletes.
But, the athletes consumed a different diet than those in the group that was not, which may account for the different microbiomes.
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults take part in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity training every week and exercises to strengthen muscles two or more days per week.
Make sure you get enough rest!
A good night’s sleep can boost your mood, cognitive function, and gut health.
A 2014 study of animals revealed that sleep patterns and disturbed sleep might negatively affect the gut flora. This could make it more likely to develop developing inflammatory conditions.
Set up healthy sleeping habits by sleeping and waking up in the same order every day. Adults must get at the very least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Use different cleansing products!
As antibiotics can alter the gut’s macrobiotic, disinfectants can also disrupt your stomach. Products for cleaning are based on the results of a study. In 2017 research examined the gut flora and flora in more than 700 babies aged 3-4 months.
The researchers found that those who lived in homes where people used disinfectant cleaning products at least weekly were twice as likely to have higher Lachnospiraceae gut microbes, a type associated with type 2 diabetes, obesity and.
At age 3, these infants had a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who did not have exposure to these large amounts of disinfectants.
Do not smoke!
Smoking can affect the gut health, overall health, and well-being of the lungs and heart. It also greatly increases cancer risk.
A Review from the 2018 of research that was published over 16 years discovered that smoking could alter the intestinal flora, causing an increase in microorganisms that could be harmful and reducing the number of beneficial ones.
These conditions make it more likely to develop intestinal and systemic diseases, including IBD, an inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD).
Eat a vegetarian diet!
Research has revealed significant different gut microbiome of vegetarians and people who eat meat.
A vegetarian diet can boost gut health because of the prebiotic levels high in fiber.
In one small study, the obese adhered to an esoteric vegetarian diet that excluded all animal products, including dairy, meat, and eggs, for one month.
When the study, participants showed lower levels of intestinal inflammation due to the different types of microbes in the gut. They also lost weight.
Take a look at probiotic supplements!
Probiotic supplements are getting more well-known as the message of the necessity of a healthy digestive system spreads. Although probiotic supplements aren’t an all-in-one solution to improving gut health, there is some evidence to suggest they could increase the macrobiotic and help restore gut health under certain circumstances.
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Summarizing How to Get Better Gut Health!
A healthy digestive system can improve overall health and immunity. With the help of appropriate changes to their diet and lifestyle, individuals can change the variety and amount of microbes that reside in their gut to improve.
Positive changes one could make are using probiotics, a vegetarian’s fiber-rich diet, and avoiding the unneeded use of disinfectants and antibiotics.
Other easy lifestyle changes that a person could make are sleeping enough and exercising often.
However, one should consult with their physician before modifying their food habits. This is because vegetarian or fibre-rich diets might not be effective for some people, such as those with the irritable digestive syndrome and other conditions that require probiotics.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Get Better Gut Health
How quickly can you improve your gut bacteria?
Creating a healthy microbiome could take up to six months when the right healthy lifestyles are followed (diet exercises, diet, sleep and managing stress – and supplements if required). However, it is an ongoing journey since you must continue to follow the same habits to keep the health of your microbiome.
How can I naturally improve my digestion?
Certain foods and habits of living can help improve the health of your gut organically.
- Eat Fiber-Rich and Probiotic-Packed Foods
- Consider a Supplement.
- Exercise Often.
- Limit Your Alcohol Intake.
- Reduce Stress Levels.
How can I improve my gut health after antibiotics?
Here are some food items which can aid in restoring the gut flora post-antibiotics:
Probiotics are food or supplements enriched with live microorganisms, mostly Lactobacillus and Bifid bacterium (which constitute good bacteria) and Saccharomyces boulardii(a kind of yeast). The consumption of probiotics can help the gut microbiome return to an optimal condition after being disrupted. Probiotics also have a positive impact on the health of your immune system. The time of your intake of probiotics is vital – medical professionals recommend that you consume probiotics at least two hours before your dose of antibiotics?
Prebiotics (high-fiber foods)
Prebiotic food items help beneficial microbes in the human gut (providing foods that feed healthy bacteria). High-fiber food items are known as prebiotics. A diet rich in fiber can improve the gut flora following antibiotics by encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Consuming foods high in fiber, such as whole grains such as lentils, fruits and even vegetables (beans, peas, broccoli, peas, artichokes, apples, bananas) along with seeds, nuts, and other nuts are not only stimulating the growth of healthy bacteria within the gut but also slows the development of harmful microbes. In addition to natural prebiotic food sources and supplements, prebiotics can also be found in supplements to your diet.
Fermented food items
Fermented foods such as yogurt cider, cheese sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi are rich in beneficial bacteria that help restore your gut’s health following antibiotics are used. Certain fermented foods, like yogurts, are enhanced with probiotics (healthy gut bacteria) and are particularly beneficial in restoring the gut’s macrobiotics and decreasing the negative effects of antibiotics.
Beneficial bacteria aid in keeping the gut lining of the digestive tract intact. If the gut lining isn’t well-maintained, harmful bacteria may infiltrate the area and create holes within the gut lining permitting food particles to escape from the digestive tract, causing difficulties. Collagen is an important protein within the body that helps support the gut lining and connective tissues.
Consuming collagen-rich food items like chicken broth, bone broth, seafood, fish eggs, egg whites, and tropical citrus fruits can strengthen the intestinal walls. Vitamin C is needed for collagen production, so increasing vitamin C intake is recommended when trying to restore your gut flora after antibiotics.
List of foods that are beneficial to gut health?
Here’s a list of useful food items for your gut health.
- Olive oil
- Brussels sprouts
- Roquefort cheese
Which supplements help boost gut health?
The best supplements to improve gut health.
- Probiotics. The gut is a multi-faceted microbiome, with thousands of bacteria living in perfect harmony, working together to provide your body with nutrition and maintain the defenses against intruders.
- Licorice root.
- Collagen protein.
- Zinc carnosine
What are the worst food items for your digestive tract?
Six of the most harmful foods and drinks for gut health:
- Artificial sweeteners.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Fried food.
- Red meat.
- Foods processed for processing.
- Soft drinks that contain sugar
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Scientific Studies and References
- Kechagia M, Basoulis D, Konstantopoulou S, Dimitriadi D, Gyftopoulou K, Skarmoutsou N, Fakiri EM. Health benefits of probiotics: a review. ISRN Nutr. 2013 Jan 2;2013:481651. doi: 10.5402/2013/481651. PMID: 24959545; PMCID: PMC4045285.
- Hills RD Jr, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1613. doi: 10.3390/nu11071613. PMID: 31315227; PMCID: PMC6682904.
- Brown K, DeCoffe D, Molcan E, Gibson DL. Diet-induced dysbiosis of the intestinal microbiota and the effects on immunity and disease. Nutrients. 2012 Aug;4(8):1095-119. doi: 10.3390/nu4081095. Epub 2012 Aug 21. Erratum in: Nutrients. 2012 Oct;4(11)1552-3. PMID: 23016134; PMCID: PMC3448089.
Parnell JA, Reimer RA. Prebiotic fiber modulation of the gut microbiota improves risk factors for obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Gut Microbes. 2012 Jan-Feb;3(1):29-34. doi: 10.4161/gmic.19246. PMID: 22555633; PMCID: PMC3827018.
- Hills RD Jr, Pontefract BA, Mishcon HR, Black CA, Sutton SC, Theberge CR. Gut Microbiome: Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 16;11(7):1613. doi: 10.3390/nu11071613. PMID: 31315227; PMCID: PMC6682904.
Klinder A, Shen Q, Heppel S, Lovegrove JA, Rowland I, Tuohy KM. Impact of increasing fruit and vegetables and flavonoid intake on the human gut microbiota. Food Funct. 2016 Apr;7(4):1788-96. doi: 10.1039/c5fo01096a. PMID: 26757793.
Lisko DJ, Johnston GP, Johnston CG. Effects of Dietary Yogurt on the Healthy Human Gastrointestinal (GI) Microbiome. Microorganisms. 2017 Feb 15;5(1):6. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms5010006. PMID: 28212267; PMCID: PMC5374383.