What Is Gut Health, and Why Should You Care?
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
This statement is as true today as it was two thousand years ago. Fun fact: There are about 100 trillion bacteria in our bodies, and most of them are in our intestines. Now that’s a lot of bacteria. These billions of bacteria impact the entire body and make up the “microbiome.” The human microbiome refers to the environment of microbes that live in the human body. While these microbes inhabit all parts of our body that are exposed to the environment, such as the skin, mouth, nasal passages and vagina, most reside in the gut.
Gut Health Is a Huge Indicator of Overall Health
When our digestive system isn’t working properly, it affects every single system in our bodies from cardiovascular to immune. It’s been said that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome. 70 percent of the immune system and 95 percent of serotonin in the body are located in the gut.
Beneficial bacteria in your digestive system have the capability of affecting your body’s digestion, vitamin and mineral absorbency, hormone regulation, vitamin production, immune response, and ability to eliminate toxins, not to mention your overall mental health.
The gut is now being referenced as a “second brain,” which can have a direct affect mood, energy levels, libido, and creative output. Problems in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract can cause much more than just stomach pain and a bloated belly. They can actually be the root cause of many underlying chronic health problems.
The gut is now being referenced as a “second brain.”
Poor Gut Health Can Lead to A Laundry List of Ailments
Research has shown poor gut health is linked to hormonal imbalances, allergies, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, diabetes, liver disease, obesity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, eczema and rosacea, and more. Woah, baby.
If this hasn’t caught your attention yet, it will now. Our gut health can have huge effects on weight loss and weight gain. Some bacteria promote inflammation, as a response to stress, and other bacteria create sugar cravings – a weight gaining nightmare. However, multiple studies show that when you rebalance your microbiome, you can actually boost your metabolism and shed fat.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Change Your Gut Health?
Don’t worry, we help shape our own microbiomes. The foods we eat, how we sleep, the amount of bacteria were exposed to daily, and our stress levels all establish the state of our microbiota. Diet seems to be the most effective means for ensuring a healthy microbiome, which is one of the main reasons why I focus on food first with all of my clients. The key to maintaining a healthy microbiome is a high-fiber, unprocessed and low-sugar diet. Supplements, stress management and lifestyle factors can of course make an impact as well, depending on your specific condition.
Want to know more about how to make sure your gut is in top shape? Stay tuned.