Why Your Gut Health Really Matters
If you’ve experienced stomach problems or an upset stomach, you’ll most likely have been experiencing gut problems without realising it.
A common mistake is confusing the gut with the stomach, and it’s easy for us in our busy lives if we’ve had a ‘stomach upset’ and things seem sort of on the mend that we move on.
But here’s why gut health really matters.
Digestion issues affect many people
I think we’d be telling fibs if we said we’ve never experienced problems with your gut at some point in your life.
This can be occasional bloating or abdominal discomfort here and there, but many people experience prolonged gut issues including stomach bloating, gas, constipation, diaorrhea and other gut symptoms.
And there can be shame associated with bodily functions, digestion noises or our toilet habits - so we just don't talk about it.
Some of us really believe that’s “just how it is.” But while it can be common in our modern lives, it's not normal
Some studies show that 1 in 4 people experience gut symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating or changes in frequency of their bowel movements.
When some of these these gut symptoms happen frequently, it can be referred to or diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
It can be seen as a 'catch all' for these gut signals and it's called a ‘syndrome’, as it has no single cause and no single treatment, plus symptoms can be different from person to person. If you have IBS or have been experiencing things in your digestion that just don't feel right - you might have done some work to figure out what triggers your gut.
Treating an unhappy gut - make small changes for big improvements
Improving your general gut health by maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, drinking plenty of water and introducing a scientifically-backed bacteria supplement can help to manage bloating, stomach upset and the other symptoms.
Gut health influences your general health
Good gut health isn’t just important for those that experience gut issues.
Gut health can have an impact on many other aspects of your wellbeing and life.
Your gut health is connected to every other part of your body. Therefore, your gut health affects almost every other aspect of your overall health and wellbeing.
Your gut and weight management
A number of studies have shown that people with higher gut bacteria diversity and higher fibre intake have lower long term weight gain.
Your gut controls all of the nutrients that enter your body and those that are removed. So, your gut health plays an important role in your weight.
Different types of gut microbes eat different things. Some like sugar and fats, others like fibre.
This balance between your gut microbes and what you're eating could impact how much of your energy gets stored as fat and hence your weight.
Your Gut and Your Immunity
Your digestive system can be up to 30 foot long, and around 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut. Just think about that for a second!
The human body has an amazing ability to communicate with its internal ecosystem.
The immune system is able to recognise and coexist alongside healthy bacteria in your gut, protecting you from infection while also ‘tasting’ anything that might be harmful so it can signal other cells for destruction or alert the proper authorities if necessary!
The importance of this partnership cannot overlooked because many studies have shown those who have more diverse microbiomes (that means greater variety) suffer less frequent attacks compared against individuals whose guts contain only few types of bugs - suggesting if we look after our gut bacteria, it will look after us!
Your Gut and Your Brain Health (The Gut-Brain Axis)
The brain and gut are connected through the peripheral nervous system, which includes a major nerve called The Vagus Nerve. This means that your gastrointestinal tract can send signals to your head as well!
This also allows for bacteria in our guts (or even just sensations) make their way into other parts of us like moods or emotions.
In some studies, 30% of people who reported IBS symptoms also report feelings of anxiety, nervousness or depression too - so this may be linked back directly onto how you feel about yourself when something happens outside normal norms.
Stress, anxiety and bloating seems to be a combination that often comes hand in hand.
Very commonly, when someone is experiencing digestive symptoms of bloating, but also other symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) such as cramping or constipation, these more emotional symptoms are present too.
This is your gut's way of telling you something isn't right.
Your Gut and Fitness
Researchers are still studying the link between gut health and physical fitness.
They've found that diet is a very important factor in fitness, and that your gut microbes may be involved.
For example, a study of professional sportspeople found that they had significantly higher gut microbiome diversity than non-athletes, although their diets and lifestyles were also very different.
Other studies have shown that largely sedentary people have been able to improve the diversity of their gut microbiome by exercising more, although this research was limited and other factors may be at play here as when we start to improve one element of our health, it's easier to add new habits in too.
Your Gut and Heart Health
Your gut and its microbes regulate the digestion of fat and helps control cholesterol levels. They also produce certain chemicals that may be harmful for heart health - especially when we digest red meat with trimethylamine N oxide (a compound found in processed meats).
Although moderation should still apply here, this is one more reason to feed our guts plenty of fibre!
Make good gut choices with Gut Wealth!
Our gut microbiome is linked to almost every aspect of our health - yet when it's working correctly, we take it for granted. Although a lot of this research is still quite new, it all points towards one thing - maintaining good gut health could have a major impact on your overall health and wellbeing.