When you heal your gut you can optimize your overall health in 13 amazing ways.
Heal Your Gut and Improve your Overall Health
Your body contains trillions of bacteria both good and bad. More than all the other cells in your body. Most of these bacteria live in your intestines or gut. Collectively, they’re known as your gut microbiome. And they don’t just digest your food.
Doctors are finding that your gut bacteria do so much more than just digest your food. Your gut and its bacteria play many important roles in your overall health, such as:
- Communicating with your immune system
- Promoting mental clarity
- Balancing your body’s hormones
- Absorbing nutrients from your food
- Producing vitamin K
- Producing signals that make us feel full
- Preventing diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease
- Balancing your moods
- Supporting your metabolism
- Warding off pathogens and disease
- And of course, digesting your food
13 Reasons To Heal Your Gut
6. Dental Health
8. Seasonal Affective Disorder
10. Irritable Bowel Syndrome
11. Brain Health
12. Heart Health
13. Blood Sugar Levels
New studies suggest that a mix of bad and good bacteria in our guts could play a role in weight gain.
One study looked at the gut bacteria in 77 pairs of twins, one who was obese and one of whom was not.
This study found that the obese twins not only had different gut bacteria but had bacteria that was less diverse. So not only do you need bacteria, you need many different strains to help maintain a healthy weight.
Some types of bacteria are better at digesting fiber and carbohydrates, which can help you lose weight. Other types of bacteria can digest certain antioxidants found in plants that help prevent weight gain.
Takeaway: Heal your gut and ensure that you are getting lots of good bacteria alongside choosing from the many healthy diets for women and fitness plans to help reduce those pesky extra pounds.
As strange as it seems, mood disorders often start in the gut.
Antibiotics, high sugar diets, and stress are just a few things that can send your gut out of whack, a condition called dysbiosis. When this happens, it can trigger problems like leaky gut.
Interestingly, your gut’s inner lining is only one cell thick. When that layer is compromised by dysbiosis, problems can easily spread from your gut to the rest of your body. All kinds of nasty toxins get leaked into your bloodstream and can travel to your brain.
When you have a leaky gut, you also have a leaky brain. That inflammation in your gut can lead to inflammation in your brain. And that inflammation can lead to depression and anxiety in your brain.
Your gut produces more of the “happy hormone” serotonin than your brain and contains 95% of the body’s serotonin receptors. So rather than using an antidepressant as a first resort, consider improving your gut health to help your mood.
Research has indicated that maintaining a healthy gut flora could help to reduce feelings of anxiety and lower levels of brain activity linked to emotion while increasing activity associated with decision making.
Takeaway: Keeping your gut in good shape can help you keep your mood in good shape.
35% of adults suffer from insomnia. Sleep is SO important to overall health.
Researchers have found a strong connection between better quality of sleep and higher levels of beneficial gut bacteria.
We already know that the gut is responsible for the production of the ‘happy hormone’ serotonin. But did you know that serotonin is needed to make the ‘relaxation hormone’, melatonin?
Yes, it’s that same melatonin that you can take when you’re having trouble sleeping. Healthy guts manufacture healthy levels of our own melatonin.
Takeaway: Heal your gut and balance your gut bacteria by taking a multi-strain probiotic could boost the production of the hormones to help you sleep soundly.
Stress….how I hate you. Stress can chip away at you and your good health and shake your foundation of wellness.
Stress can also mess with your gut.
Research shows that ongoing stress can disturb the mixture of bacteria in our gut, allowing for increased production of bad bacteria.
Stress can weaken your gut’s internal lining, leaving you more susceptible to illness, exhaustion and all sorts of other maladies.
Takeaway: A balanced, happy gut can be a valuable tool for fighting all the effects of daily stress.
Sometimes, I am sooooooo tired. If you feel fatigued all the time, it may be starting in your gut.
Scientists have discovered that people with chronic fatigue syndrome actually have imbalances of different types of gut bacteria compared to healthy people.
Even if you don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome, a lack of energy could arise when you aren’t getting the vital vitamins and nutrients from your food needed to keep you functioning at your best.
A healthy gut flora also aids in the production of extra B vitamins, which are essential for energy production throughout the body. Your body burns up B vitamins when you exercise or are under stress.
They’re crucial for breaking down food into fuel, transporting oxygen throughout your body, and increasing your red-blood-cell production to keep your muscles functioning properly.
A healthy gut with healthy levels of good bacteria, can help you absorb the goodness from the food you’re eating, as well as help produce those much-needed B vitamins.
Takeaway: A healthy gut can help you feel energetic and on top of your game, even during stressful times.
Floss, brush, rinse, repeat. Can you believe I never even flossed my teeth until I was in college?? Now it seems crazy.
Your teeth and mouth are super important to your gut health. Think of your mouth as the gateway to your gut. Your mouth itself has its own microbiome of bacteria.
Each time you swallow, all of these bacteria, both good and bad, travel down to your gut.
And when you gargle with that harsh, stinging, anti-bacterial mouthwash, you’re not only knocking out the bad bacteria, you’re messing up the good flora in your mouth.
There’s a clear link to oral disease and other serious health issues, so keep your mouth and gut healthy with probiotics.
In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in the use of probiotics and the maintenance of a healthy gut flora in preventing and treating oral infections, including dental caries, periodontal disease, and halitosis.
Takeaway: Keep your mouth and gut health in good shape by taking care of your good bacteria.
Oh, that uncomfortable feeling when your belly just feels it’s going to burst. Sometimes bloating can feel less like discomfort and more like pain.
And I don’t like looking like I’m 4-months pregnant either…
That bloated, stuffed feeling comes after eating and is usually caused by excess gas production and is a combination of solids, liquids, and gas produced by your unhappy gut.
It is the bad bacteria in the gut which can produce gas and cause bloating in the stomach.
Sugary foods can feed this bacteria, helping it to multiply. Taking a multi-strain probiotic can help to increase the beneficial bacteria to prevent an imbalance in the gut and reduce the effects of bloating.
Takeaway: Probiotic supplements can help improve the flora in your gut and heal your gut, which can help wipe out your excess gas and bloating, and make you feel better and look thinner.
I live in California, so thankfully, I get some sun year round.
But if you’re in an area where you don’t get enough sunlight in the winter, you may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), or the “winter blues”.
When you have a large supply of “bad” bacteria in your gut, they send depressive signals to your brain. This makes it hard to keep your spirits up. However, when you replace that unhealthy bacteria with positive microbes, your brain will feel much happier.
Since most of the serotonin in your body comes from your gut, keeping your gut flora healthy can give you an edge during those winter months.
Missing out on hours of daylight can leave you deficient in vitamin D.
Taking a daily probiotic has been shown to increase vitamin D levels by more than 25%, and to modulate the area of the brain responsible for mood.
Takeaway: Heal your gut by keeping your gut healthy and you can help boost serotonin, melatonin and vitamin D, and help you fight seasonal affective disorder.
I can tell you a thing or two about allergies. Years of allergy shots under my belt and I still had terrible allergies on a windy day.
Thankfully, science knows so much more about gut health now than they did when I was a kid.
Nearly 80% of your immune system is in your gut, so the health of your gut directly affects your immune system.
Allergies are basically symptoms of our immune system overacting by attacking pollen and allergens.
There’s even evidence that damage to our gut microbiome from taking antibiotics can cause you to develop seasonal allergies. Yikes!
The good news is you can help your immune system get healthy again by taking a good probiotic, eating fermented foods, etc.
Takeaway: Maintaining a healthy gut flora can help to manage the various symptoms of allergies, by helping strengthen your immune system.
Doctors don’t know exactly what causes Irritable Bowel Syndrom or IBS. But they do know that an overgrowth of bad bacteria in your intestines can contribute to the problem.
It is thought that taking a probiotics supplement helps return the bacteria within the gut flora to a more optimal state of balance.
One particular type of probiotic, Bifidobacterium infantis has been clinically shown to reduce IBS symptoms.
Takeaway: A probiotic can help top up levels of healthy bacteria supportive of healthy digestive function.
There’s a proven relationship between the gut and brain called the gut-brain axis. Scientists are just beginning to understand just how complex this relationship is and what a large role your gut plays in your physical and mental health.
Recent studies have shown that people with certain psychological disorders have different strains of gut bacteria than healthy people.
Since we know that certain probiotics can improve depression, making sure you have a happy gut can help you have a well-functioning brain as well.
Takeaway: Keeping your gut healthy can directly influence your brain health.
Certain bacteria in the gut produce chemicals that can contribute to blocked arteries and lead to heart attacks or stroke.
However, other gut microbiome bacteria may actually reduce cholesterol when taken as a probiotic.
Takeaway: Heal your gut using certain probiotics or good bacteria and you may help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
If your gut isn’t busy enough, it may also help control blood sugar.
In a study of infants genetically disposed to developing type 1 diabetes, it was found that just before the onset of type 1 diabetes, the levels of unhealthy bacteria spiked.
Another study showed that even when people ate the exact same foods, their blood sugar levels could vary greatly, due in part to the differences in their gut bacteria.
Takeaway: The bacteria in your gut plays a role in controlling your blood sugar, so stay balanced.
That’s Great, but How Can You Heal Your Gut?
- Eat a wide variety of foods, particularly beans, legumes, and fruit
- Eat fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut
- Cut back on artificial sweeteners which have been shown to stimulate the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria
- Eat prebiotic foods to help stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria like bananas, oats, and apples.
- Try brewing up a batch of kombucha. Kombucha is full of healthy bacteria to help you care for your gut, and there are so many delicious kombucha flavors to try
- Breastfeed for at least 6 months to help develop your child’s gut microbiome
- Eat foods rich in polyphenols like red wine, chocolate, green tea
- Take antibiotics only when necessary
- Drink more water and try some easy detox water recipes to help flush out the bad stuff in your digestive track
- Take a probiotic to reseed your gut with healthy bacteria.
Your gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, fungi, and other microbes. These trillions of bacteria can be both good and bad for you overall health. Heal your gut and you can have a positive effect on so many other aspects of your health.
Knowing that the gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health, you can make better choices like passing up the antibiotics unless really needed, eating a varied diet, fermented foods, and add good bacteria (probiotics) to your daily health routine – all things that can tip the balance in your gut toward the healthy, helpful bacteria.
So let’s go get some kombucha now!
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