You might have heard a lot of people talk about gut health, or read about it somewhere. But not a lot of people truly understand its importance and why it's linked with your overall well-being. Well, in a gist, your gut health is the foundation of everything. But we're not here to share just a gist on gut health. You will learn all about gut health meaning, its importance of it, and what can you do to improve it so as to lead a healthy lifestyle.
What is Gut Health?
Having good gut health means having a balance between the good and bad bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. 80% of your immune system is in the gut and so is the majority of your body's serotonin. Hence, if you don't have a healthy gut, your immune system and hormones won't function well and you will end up falling ill time and time again.
Why is it Important to Have Good Gut Health?
Your gut health helps the digestion of all the food you eat, absorbs nutrients, and uses them to maintain and fuel your body. If you have poor gut health, your immune system and serotonin (1) won't work well, which will result in bad health. Improving gut health is important because that's also where your body gets rid of metabolic waste and toxins. If you have bad gut health, it will cause many issues which include chronic fatigue, inflammation, and other illnesses in your entire body. That's the reason why so many people experience symptoms like constipation, gas, joint pain, diarrhea, brain fog, etc (2).
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut:
Here are some common signs of having an unhealthy gut.
- Skin Problems:
Your skin will break down often when you eat certain foods that are high in saturated fat and refined sugar. These kinds of foods can promote an imbalance of gut bacteria that contributes to various skin problems like acne, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, and rosacea.
- Moodiness, Irritability, and Poor Concentration:
When you have poor gut health, it can mess with your mental health as well. You will have trouble maintaining your emotions and moods.
- Bloating, Gas, and Stomach Issues:
You will notice symptoms like indigestion, stomach pain, and food intolerance due to poor gut health.
When your gut is imbalanced, your body will find it difficult to process your food and eliminate waste from your body. Hence, your weight keeps fluctuating due to your eating habits.
- Fatigue and Insomnia:
You will find it hard to sleep or you will sleep too much, both due to fatigue and insomnia.
Things to do to Improve Your Gut Health:
Now that you know the meaning of gut health and its importance, let us tell you how to improve gut health so that you can lead a healthy life.
1. Consume Whole Grains, Nuts, Veggies, and Fruits:
One way to improve gut health is by following a healthy diet that includes lots of fresh veggies and fruits along with whole grains and nuts. Oats, quinoa, etc., have fiber that your body needs to help your intestine. Consuming more whole grains can increase the types and numbers of bacteria in your gut, and the same is with nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, pistachios, etc. Fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, and legumes can help provide you with nutrition for the bacteria in your gut.
2. Dental Hygiene:
There's a solid link between your teeth and your gut. Brush and floss your teeth regularly. When you have regular dental check-ups and cleanings, help to maintain a healthy microbiome. The bacteria from your mouth gets into your stomach and can cause issues. Hence, it's best to avoid the bad bacteria taking out the good ones in your stomach by improving gut health. Also, limit sugary foods as they can cause yeast to grow and throw off delicate gut balances.
3. Consume More Fermented Foods:
Include more yoghurt in your daily diet as it can help with gut health, as much as fermented foods can. Fermented foods like kombucha, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, etc., can give good bacteria that improve the health of your stomach (3). These foods contain a good amount of lactobacilli bacteria which is quite beneficial to improve gut health.
4. Don't Shy Away From Spices:
Garlic, ginger, and other delicious spices will only help you get rid of the harmful bacteria in your gut. They will do no harm to the good bacteria and will only help you maintain great gut health along with making your food flavourful.
5. Take Apple Cider Vinegar:
Start including Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) in your diet as it will ease inflammation in your gut by supporting the digestion of problematic foods. ACV also helps prevent the overgrowth of bad bacteria. You should try Saffola Fittify's Himalayan Apple Cider Vinegar. In addition to assisting you in managing your weight, it will also improve the health of your gut. This ACV is sourced from organic apples and it is raw, unfiltered, & unpasteurized.
Healing your gut health will take time and you need to be consistent and dedicated to following all the ways to improve it. Your microbiome doesn't get unhealthy in a night's time, so expecting it to fall back on track overnight is impractical. Eating right, and managing stress levels will help you achieve good gut health.
What are the food items to improve gut health?
Foods that you can consume to improve your gut health are:
- High-fiber foods like oats, fruits, and beans.
- Dried peas and lentils.
- Fried fruits like raisins and prunes.
- Foods that are made with whole grains like whole grain cereal, bread, and pasta.
- Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley, etc.
What are the food items that can harm gut health?
Foods that can harm your gut health are:
- Red meat.
- Dairy products.
- Processed foods.
Are there any exercises to improve gut health?
Crunches or sit-ups can help with healthy digestion which is linked to improved gut health. Your core muscles in your abdomen can strengthen bowel movement and intestines. Hence, these two types of exercises will aid in preventing gas or bloating.
What are the benefits of probiotics for the health of the gut?
It helps your body to:
- Keep bad bacteria from making you fall sick
- Digest food properly
- Support cells that line your gut to cut down bad bacteria
- Create vitamins
- Breakdown and absorb medications well