Gut health refers to the balance of microorganisms that live in the digestive tract.
Why is gut health important?
While it may not seem like it, your gut is a very important part of your overall health and wellness. Simply put, a healthy gut is a great indication that you are generally healthy. An unhealthy gut however, can be an indication of bigger problems including poor immune system function, depression, and obesity among other issues.Everyone’s microbiome is unique, but there are a few generalities about what’s healthy and what’s not. “In healthy people, there is a diverse array of organisms, most of those organisms are bacteria, but there are viruses, fungi and other microbes as well. In an unhealthy individual, there’s much less diversity, and there seems to be an increase of bacteria we associate with disease.
What sign should I look out for?
Knowing some of the signs of an unhealthy gut can be an important first step to leading a healthier, happier life and we are here to help you not only identify what could be wrong, but steps to take in order to fix it and get back on track.
If you feel like your stomach is constantly doing summersaults it could be a sign that your gut is not in the best of health. Consistent gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea and heartburn are all indications of bigger problems. When your gut is balanced it is much easier for it to process food and eliminate waste thus less stomach issues.
A diet high in processed food is another sign that your gut may be struggling and causing you further health issues. When you eat unhealthy food you decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut that can lead you to crave sugar and other non-healthy foods exacerbating the problem. High-fructose corn syrup is particularly problematic and has been linked to increased bodily inflammation which can be a precursor to many other diseases including cancer.
Do you find your weight going up or down drastically without trying? If you answered yes, you may have gut problems. When your gut is out of whack it has a hard time absorbing the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy weight causing it to fluctuate one way or the other.
Another sign your gut may not be functioning well is if you are having a hard time sleeping. The hormone serotonin which is responsible for getting you to sleep is mainly produced in your gut. If your gut is not functioning well as strange as it sounds, it could be affecting your sleep.
Skin problems, specifically eczema, can be related to gut health. A poor diet or even food allergies can cause a “leak” of specific proteins in your gut that can inflame your skin.
If you are calling out sick more days than you ever have, you may want to check your gut. Inflammation caused by a gut imbalance can cause your immune system to fail leading to more colds and even escalate to autoimmune diseases where your body attacks itself instead of harmful viruses.
Do certain foods seem to not sit well with you? That could be because of a food intolerance due to a lack of healthy bacteria in your gut. Not only can you not properly digest what you are eating, but you can be affected with gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain and nausea.
What can you do to improve symptoms?
While the list of things that could be wrong and indicate your gut health is off seems daunting there are things you can do to drastically improve your gut functioning.
One of the best ways to combat an unhealthy gut. This can be anything from reducing your stress levels with a massage, getting enough sleep, meditation, or getting a pet.
What you choose to eat and how you choose to eat
Eating slowly and high quality foods is another way to make a difference in your gut health. Avoid processed foods and sugar. Eat whole foods and stay away from packaged products. Be diligent about checking for food sensitivities that are avoidable and can change how you feel everyday.
How much you drink
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding caffeine is another great way to help improve your gut health.
Take a prebiotic or probiotic supplement to help with the health of your gut. Prebiotics help to “feed” the good bacteria in your gut so that they can go to work for you. Probiotics are live good bacteria that you can ingest to help increase your count of healthy gut bacteria. Before starting either make sure you consult your healthcare specialist to determine which you need.
Below you'll find a list of our favorite probiotics.