The human gut is very complex and extremely important to overall human health. Many studies demonstrate links between gut health and the immune system, mood, mental health, skin conditions and other aspects of health.
According to Healthline, the term “gut microbiome” refers specifically to the microorganisms living in your intestines. On average, each person has about 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. Many of these microorganisms are beneficial and necessary for a healthy body.
According to Dr. E. M. Quigley in his study on gut bacteria in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, having a wide variety of these good bacteria in your gut can enhance your immune system function, improve symptoms of depression, help combat obesity, and provide numerous other benefits.
Gut health might be impacted by high stress levels, too little sleep, eating processed and high-sugar foods or taking antibiotics. All these factors can damage our gut microbiome.
According to Healthline, this in turn may affect other aspects of our health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the development of cancer.
Healthline recommends paying attention to the following signs showing your gut is unhealthy:
Upset stomach. All the disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and heartburn can be signs of an unhealthy gut.
A high-sugar diet. A diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in your gut. Some of the studies show that high amounts of refined sugars are linked to increased inflammation.
Unintentional weight changes. Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or exercise habits may be a sign of an unhealthy gut.
Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue. An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well.
Skin irritation. Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
Autoimmune conditions. Medical researchers are continually finding new evidence of the impact of the gut on the immune system. It’s thought that an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system.
Food intolerances. Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods). It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut. There is some evidence that food allergies may also be related to gut health.
Some literature on better digestive health provides the following tips:
Eat a high – fiber diet.
Limit foods that are high in fat, but include some healthy fat (salmon, avocado etc.) in your diet.
Choose lean meats to get more protein.
Include probiotics and prebiotics into your diet.
Eat on schedule.
Drink more water.
Skip the bad habits: smoking, excessive caffeine and alcohol.
Get enough sleep.
According to Healthline, you should consume the following food for your gut health:
1. High – fiber foods such as legumes, beans, peas, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, and leeks. Some studies have shown a positive impact of these foods on gut health.
2. Garlic and onion. Based on various studies, garlic and onion may have some anti-cancer and immune system-enhancing properties.
3. Fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, miso and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics.
4. Collagen-boosting foods such as bone broth and salmon may be beneficial to overall health and gut health specifically.
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10 specific strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria
Healthline. 25 August 2020
Everyday Health. 13 May 2020