Why are we putting gut health in the limelight and devoting a whole week to it? The gut (also known as gastrointestinal tract) is the core communication center to and from the brain. It is a long twisting tube that starts at the mouth and ends with the anus, connecting vital organs such as the esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, and liver along the way.
Each part in your digestive tract is integrated to help transport food throughout your body to be broken down into absorbable nutrients. There’s a party in your tummy with tens of trillions of microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, viruses, archaea, eukaryotes) that live symbiotically in your intestines. This one-of-a-kind bacterial population is called the, “gut microbiome,” and plays an important part in maintaining our health. It outnumbers human cells by 10-1! So are we really human, or just a bunch of bacteria?
Happy gut? Healthy you: Gut health has been linked to overall wellness. If your gut is out of whack, you probably are not feeling your best. Your gut microbiome influences your whole body and affects immunity, digestion, nutrition, weight loss, energy, digestion, mood, and state of mind.
A disruption of the microbial composition (dysbiosis) can lead to obesity, malnutrition, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel syndrome. Therefore, it is important to have a beneficial mix of bacteria for a balanced and healthy gut! Let’s dive into how your guts affect your whole body.
- Brain – There’s an intimate connection between your gastrointestinal system and the brain. Neurons in the intestines send signals to the brain and vice versa.
- Immunity – Your gut wall houses 70% of the cells that make up your immune system.
- Detox – A healthy gut is absolutely critical to the normal functioning of your body’s standard detox duties, such as elimination.
- Digestion – Studies show intestinal issues like chronic constipation, bloating, gas, and stomach pain may be both the cause and the product of anxiety, stress, and depression, as well as illnesses associated with these conditions.
- Skin – Gut problems affect the way your body retains nutrients from your diet, leading to poor absorption of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants needed to keep skin looking healthy. Poor gut health can also worsen existing skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
- Energy – The good guys in your gut (aka: healthy flora) work with your body to help stabilize blood sugar levels for steady energy throughout the day.
- Strength – An athlete’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients to produce energy, muscular gains, and neurological gains are all controlled by a healthy gut.
In short, a happy gut leads to a healthier you! Even making simple changes in your diet or exercise plan can make a difference in your gut health. The bacterial community in your gut is constantly evolving and can change in just a day.
Even though the microorganisms in our digestive system only make up about 1 to 3 percent of your body mass, they can greatly influence your health – for better or for worse. It’s time to heal your gut so you can say bye-bye to bloat and hello to a happier you! May the good gut flora be with you.