A healthy gut is equivalent to a healthy you. It’s common knowledge that your gastrointestinal tract provides the route for food into your body, breaks it down to smaller, absorbable nutrients, and ejects the unwanted waste material out of the body, thereby ensuring a healthy internal body environment. However, recent studies suggest that the gut’s function is far more significant than what appears at the surface.
Maintaining your gut in top shape is extremely crucial for your overall wellbeing. Although you may assume that you know everything about your gut, you’ll be surprised at how little you know about it. Let’s get down to all the nifty details about your gut health that you were unaware of – until today.
Gut Health Is Related to Immunity
All our lives, we’ve known that the gut is responsible for digestion. However, your gut is also associated with immunity. The gastrointestinal tract houses several bacteria and other microorganisms known to offer numerous benefits to the body. They help fight off infections and maintain a healthy internal environment. The natural microbiome of the gut includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes. The diversity of gut microorganisms is more diverse in healthy individuals in contrast to unhealthy ones. An unbalance in gut microbiota can lead to the number of harmful bacteria to increase, associated with an increased risk of disease. For example, your gut contains some bacteria that promote inflammation, and some that fight it off. If there’s an unbalance, inflammation-causing bacteria may take over and produce certain metabolites that can cause inflammation in parts other than the gut once they enter the bloodstream.
Gluten Is Harmful to Gut Health
Gluten is a common protein found in food products like wheat, barley, and other grains. While cereal grains are healthy foods, your gut isn’t very fond of gluten. Scientific evidence suggests that gluten can increase the intestinal walls’ permeability and lead to a condition called leaky gut. It’s when the intestinal permeability increases in people who don’t have celiac disease, resulting in waste particles, undigested food, and bacteria entering the bloodstream, which eventually causes overall illness. To ensure that your gut remains healthy, it’s best if you adopt a gluten-free lifestyle.
Prebiotics Are Beneficial Post-Antibiotics
If you’ve been taking antibiotics for a while, your gut may be deprived of the beneficial microbes. Non-specific antibiotics eliminate not only the infection-causing bacteria but also the beneficial, natural body flora. As a result, your gut’s capability to keep infections and diseases at bay is highly compromised. To ensure that the gut retains its immunity-related function at its optimum, you should always take prebiotics after completing your antibiotic course. Prebiotics are good for health generally and can be taken routinely, but they are even more beneficial post-antibiotic course.
Emotional Stress is Bad for Gut Health
Have you ever experienced an upset stomach before an important interview or a tough exam? Well, it’s no coincidence. Emotional stress doesn’t just affect your mental wellbeing, but it can also have a noticeable impact on your gut health. According to research, emotional distress can affect gut microflora. The connection is referred to as the gut-brain axis by scientists. Through this pathway, signals from the gut can travel to the brain and affect the neurotransmitters and vice-versa. While the research is still in its early stages, one thing is definite – a person’s mental state and microbiome influence each other to a certain extent.
Some Medications Can Have An Adverse Effect on Gut Health
How often do you take over-the-counter painkillers or drugs to combat acid reflux? Quite often, we know. You’ll be surprised to know that many of these medications can harm your gut health without you knowing. They have an impact on gut microflora. They can wipe out beneficial bacteria from the gut and harmful microbes, affecting gut health adversely. People taking antibiotics can develop certain allergies or become more susceptible to catching infections. You may not have been able to point out the cause earlier, but now you know that it all comes down to an imbalance in the gut microflora.
Chewing Food Slowly Is Beneficial
People may often taunt you for being a slow eater. But you need not fret. Being a slow eater is actually beneficial for your gut health. When you chew your food for longer, there’s more saliva production. With that, your digestive system is signaled to prepare itself and initiate the digestive process. Chewing foods stimulates the gut and hence, ensures complete and efficient digestion. The more efficient the digestion is, the more efficient the nutrient absorption and the healthier you will feel.
Good Sleep Is Equivalent to Good Gut Health
This one may come as a surprise for you – sleeping well can improve your gut health. The gut-sleep relationship is still under research, but if you aren’t sleeping well, you are sure to observe problems with your gut. Getting quality sleep lowers cortisol levels and provides the gut enough time to undertake the repair work. And with that being said, your gut stays healthier, and you’re less likely to suffer from bloating, indigestion, and other gut-related problems.
All this while, we thought all our gut did was digest and egests the food we eat. Little did we know that there’s so much more to the gut. Maintaining gut health is crucial to ensure a healthy environment inside the body. Who knew simple factors like chewing food and getting good sleep could affect gut health? Now that you know bring about changes in your lifestyle to ensure that your gut health is maintained at optimum at all times. Trust us – your gut will thank you for it!