The Importance of Gut Health
Hey Squadies! Happy hump day!
Today, we are talking all about gut health, what it is, why it’s important and how you can improve your gut health! Our gut is home to a TON of microbes and bacteria, all which play a roll in our overall health! Understanding gut health and it’s affect on us can make a huge difference in our happiness, healthiness and overall wellbeing.
What is gut health?
When talking about our gut, I am referring to gastrointestinal tract also known as the GI tract. The GI tract is most commonly known to be responsible for everything digestion, from transporting food to your tummy, absorption of nutrients into the body, and getting any waste out of the body. The GI tract is home to millions and TRILLIONS of bacteria which play a role in more than just digestion. The GI tract in the past was believed to be all about digestion and that’s it! In more recent years, science is discovering that the GI tract is super important for our overall health!
Why is it important?
To understand why our gut health is so important, we have to start by looking at a specific set of microbes made up of bacteria, fungi, viruses and more – located in the GI tract, mainly located in your large intestines, called microbiome. These microbiome play a huge role in human health. The balance of good to bad microbes within your microbiome can make the difference between you being healthy or sick. When we have less diversity of microbes, more “bad” microbes or microbes associated with certain diseases in your microbiome, it can cause us to become ill. Having a greater diversity of microbes is GOOD and HEALTHY!
Our microbiome can effect many things, from immune health, to brain health, heart health and of course, gut health. Having a healthy gut can make a BIG difference in our health, so it is super important to do what we can to make sure our gut stays healthy!
How to improve gut health:
There are a TON of ways to improve gut health! Certain foods we eat can play a role in our gut health. There are some things you can do in your daily life to help improve your gut health. Although most of my tips are related to food and diet, there are also some lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your gut health as well.
1.Eat PREBIOTICS, avoid antibiotics
Prebiotics are found in certain foods and are good for your gut health because they help grow diverse microbes in your gut. You can find foods that are rich in prebiotics such as bananas, garlic, onions, whole grains, and artichokes.
Antibiotics are sometimes necessary to help treat infections, but should never be overused. Antibiotics can damage your gut microbiome. Although they kill the bad bacteria which is causing you to be sick, it kills some of the GOOD bacteria too! Antibiotics can also cause you to have resistance towards them if taken too often without necessity. Due to this, make sure antibiotics are only taken when absolutely necessary!
Diversifying the foods you eat, and adding some more plant based foods into your diet can positively affect your microbiome. First off, prebiotic rich foods are all plant based, and as previously mentioned, prebiotics help create diverse microbes which is an indication of a healthy gut. A ton of vegetarian or vegan base foods such as beans and fruit are good for gut health because they help create diverse microbes when consumed. Especially if you are on a regular meat based diet, adding some vegan or vegetarian dishes into your diet can have a super positive affect on your microbiome and therefore help improve your overall health!
3. Avoid sugars and artificial sweeteners
Eating too much sugar and artificial sweeteners can not only cause weight gain and addiction, but can also cause you to have an unhealthy gut! Both sugar are artificial sweeteners can cause you to have an in-balance or low diversity of microbes in your microbiome. In-balance of microbes can have negative effects on your health including, constant weight change, upset stomach, and fatigue. Overtime, in-balance or low diversity can cause more serious problems such as heart problems or disease.
4. More Exercise!
Exercise has been linked to either the maintenance or growth of diverse bacteria in the gut! Studies were done on active and inactive individuals, the study found that participants who were more active, or more regularly active had a greater diversity of bacteria in their microbiome! More diverse microbes = healthy gut!
Fermented foods contain probiotics and other healthy bacteria your gut needs to stay healthy and diverse! Some of these foods include yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, and tempeh. You can also DRINK your probiotics and healthy bacteria with kombucha, which is a drink made through a fermentation process and contains tons of healthy bacteria! Adding more fermented foods to your daily diet can help improve your gut health and contribute to your overall health!
There you have it Squadies! What is gut health and how you can improve yours!
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