Is your gut healthy? Everything we do on a daily basis, from our lifestyle habits to sleep routine, can impact the wellbeing of our gut. However, arguably more important are the foods we eat, which largely influence the health of our gut. So, how can you eat to support a healthy gut?
The gut, also known as your digestive system, is arguably the most important system in the human body. This is mostly due to it’s vital role in digestion and nutrient absorption. The gut moves from North to South, starting in the mouth and ending at the anus. The entire system includes your esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines, gallbladder, and other organs. One of the most important parts of your intricate digestive system is the gut microbiome, which describes the balance (or often, imbalance) of bacteria in the gut tract. Your gut microbiome, located in the large intestine, houses beneficial and pathogenic (harmful) bacteria. Surprisingly, both are needed for a healthy gut. However, problems can arise when pathogenic bacteria begin to crowd out healthy gut bugs. Often, the term “gut health” refers to this delicate balance of gut bacteria.
The gut is connected to every bodily system and function, including immunity, skin health, hormonal balance, mental health, and more. Hence, it’s nickname: the second brain. It’s impacts reach far and wide. Needless to say, what happens in the gut doesn’t exactly stay in the gut.
An imbalanced gut affects the rest of the body and has negative impacts on your health, as a whole. Unfortunately, when things are out of whack in your gut, it can lead to the following unwanted symptoms:
As you can see, this is why gut health is so vital to a healthy mind and body!
The foods you eat (or don’t) have a direct impact on your gut and it’s microbiome. Some common foods, like sugar, alcohol, and refined grains, can actually harm your gut. When these foods are consumed regularly, as they often are as part of the Standard American Diet, it can cause loosened junctions in the gut lining. As a result, you’re left with a leaky gut and an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut microbiome.
So, how can you eat to support a healthy gut? Many natural, whole foods are known for supporting a healthy gut, including:
Including more of these gut-healthy foods can support a strong gut lining and balanced gut microbiome- both of which encourage a healthy mind and body. You know what they say: food is medicine!
While the wellbeing of your gut depends heavily on the foods you eat, it is also largely impacted by your daily habits and rhythms. Practice these gut-healthy habits to support your the wellbeing of your gut:
How you eat, the quality and quantity of your sleep, and daily movement (or lack of), all have impacts on your digestive system and gut microbiome. Does your lifestyle support a healthy gut?
As we now know, your gut health has a lasting impact on every other part of the body. If you’re struggling with an imbalance or dysfunctional gut, you’ll likely know it. These are the most common signs to look for:
It’s important to work with an experienced practitioner, who can help you get to the bottom of these gut issues.
As a Functional Medicine Dietitian, I’m passionate about helping others achieve optimal gut health. My 1-on-1 services allow me to dive deep into my client’s health history and struggles to accurately identify and address any imbalances. A huge part of addressing dysfunctional gut health is stool testing. This functional test gives me an inside look at exactly what is going on within the gut. For more information, click here.