Are you feeling down?
Suffering from joint pain?
Irritated with itchy eczema?
Do you constantly feel bloated?
All these problems (and a lot more) can be traced back to your GUT!
GUT or otherwise known as Stomach is an organ system which takes in food, digests it to extract and absorb energy and nutrients, and lastly expel the remaining waste. The gut is a happy home for trillions of microscopic organisms. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes. These microbes monitor a lot of activities ranging from digesting your food to keeping your immune system humming all along. Strengthening your intestine to fight against infections and removing toxins from your body also fall under your gut’s scope of work.
For the longest time, Gut health has been linked to anxiety, depression, and also to neurological conditions like schizophrenia and dementia. It can also dictate your immunity, risks of asthma and allergies; and on the tip of the worse, lead to chronic illnesses. Apart from these internal manipulations of your gut, it is also considered as the core of your skin health.
Your gut and sleep patterns work in sync. They invariably influence each other in a way more significant than you would think. Your gut health can affect your sleep patterns & your sleep patterns can determine your gut health. So, which is of primary importance?
We leave that to you to decide!
Okay, enough of why gut health is important.
Here’s something interesting you need to know – The gut microbes begin to affect your body the moment you are born! The gut affects the body from birth and throughout life by controlling the digestion of food, immune system, central nervous system, and other bodily processes.
Gut microbes diversify as you grow and higher the microbe diversity, healthier your body is.
Remember, “IN HEALTHY PEOPLE, THERE IS A DIVERSE ARRAY OF ORGANISMS.”
Interestingly, THE FOOD YOU EAT AFFECTS YOUR GUT MICROBE DIVERSITY.
If we have the guts to accept the truth (no pun intended!) we would realize that most of our food intake is coated with chemical additives and is ultra-processed. Ultra-processed food comprises of substances like sugar and starch which are extracted from food or added from food constituents like hydrogenated fats. These food substances undergo high flavour enhancing and also are adhesive to food colours.
Being cost effective and bribing your tongue with their taste, these ultra-processed foods hamper your gut, one bite at a time! They find a prominent place in the western diet, and sadly, we like to follow every fad, maybe to save time, money or to appear as modern. Canned foods, salted meat products, sugar-coated dried fruits, soda, sugary or savoury packaged snacks, bread, bun & pastries, and instant noodle soups. The list can go on, endlessly!
“Fixing the food first” is always recommended before trying any gut-modifying-therapy. Simply put, be thorough with what you eat! Your food will improve your gut-health and your food will improve how you feel.
Nutritional psychiatry underlines the positive or negative effects of your gut health and diet on your mood. 90% of serotonin receptors are located in the gut. There is two-way communication between the gut and brain. The gut-brain axis helps us better understand the connection between diet, gut health, and diseases including depression and anxiety. When the microbe balance in your gut is disrupted, you pave way for diseases.
There is a simple solution to help your gut be at its best.
A healthy balanced diet!
Having a healthy gut is incredibly important for your overall health and a balanced diet is incredibly important to dictate your gut-health.
Here are a few easy-to-follow you-must-follow tips for a better gut-health
1. PREFER WHOLE FOOD
Consider increasing your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed foods and frozen fruit juices. The sugar additives and chemical preservatives hamper your gut health.
2. EAT A DIVERSE RANGE OF FOOD
Diverse gut flora is considered to be a healthy one. Your diet should consist of a wide variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that can lead to more diverse gut flora. This helps the microbes grow and maintain a healthy gut.
3. GET ENOUGH QUALITY SLEEP
Our body has a 24-hour internal clock called the Circadian Rhythm. Sleep deprivation can disrupt circadian rhythm and thus adversely affect our gut-health.
4. EMBRACE PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES
Physical activity is any movement of the body that burns energy. Higher fitness levels can be directly associated with a healthy gut. Regular physical activity promotes the growth of healthy gut microbes.
5. PREBIOTIC-HEAVY DIET
Prebiotics are a type of fibre found abundantly in fruits, vegetables, and grains. They increase healthy gut bacteria and promote the production of short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are the main nutrient supplier for your colon cells. A prebiotic-heavy diet reduces insulin and cholesterol levels.
6. SAY NO TO ALCOHOL
Excessive alcohol consumption can seriously damage your gut microbes. In a study, around 27% of the alcoholic population had miserable gut-health as opposed to none amongst the individuals who consumed little-to-no alcohol. In wider terms, alcohol has harmful effects on gut bacteria however, red wine may have a positive effect on your gut when consumed in moderation.
7. REDUCE SUGAR INTAKE
White sugar or brown sugar, both are not friendly to your gut. Switch to the natural form of sugar – Jaggery and whole fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can try adding cinnamon to plain yoghurt with berries or to oatmeal for a healthy, sugar-free breakfast.
A healthy lifestyle is important for your gut! Physical activities and a balanced diet are the easiest steps to develop a healthy gut.
Say no to processed foods and say yes to natural, whole foods.
Hail what nature gives you! And may the power be with you. Trust your GUT.