The Importance of a Healthy Gut
It is easy to take advantage of or even disregard the health of your gut and digestive system. That is until something goes wrong! Reflux, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea and/or constipation cause not only discomfort but can also affect a person’s quality of life. Minimising certain foods, lack of sleep and avoiding social situations are a common result of digestive issues. Let alone the pain, discomfort, frustration and even tears!
The health of your gut though is more than just a comfortable belly, eating all sorts of different foods, sleeping well and being with friends and family – although these are important!
Gut health is also linked to if not influencing:
- Mental health – such as anxiety and depression
- Skin problems – eczema and psoriasis
- Immune strength and function – gut health is linked to auto immune conditions
- Cognition and mental acuity (as in the opposite of brain fog)
- Energy levels
So what causes an unhealthy gut? There are a few causes yet diet is one of the key factors in the health of your gut. For optimal gut health, I suggest eating a diet that is low in inflammatory foods such as wheat, dairy, sugar and processed foods; whilst high in healing foods such as bone broths, saurkrauts, kefirs, and kombuchas.
In addition, identifying any food intolerances will allow you to create a diet that is best suited to you and your gut health.
Other factors to consider include
- Stress levels – chronic unmanaged stress decreases your gut health by undermining your immune system
- Dysbiosis or lack of balance in your gut bacteria. Processed foods, antibiotic use, and lack of prebiotic foods (those that feed the probiotics or microflora) are all common contributors to dysbiosis.
- Toxins and parasites – certain medications, chemicals and parasites can also decrease the integrity and functioning of your digestive system.
Healing your gut is important for both mental and physical health. To do it right, it does take some time. Considering the entire digestive system is up to 9 metres long it may not be surprising that it take some time to get all 9 metres working well again. The cells in the gut lining are replaced every 1-3 days so the opportunity to receive prompt benefits from gut healing is strong.
A holistic gut healing protocol is comprised of four phases, which are to :
- Remove those foods and toxins that are impacting your gut health- ie bad out
- Replace with healing foods to ensure not only sound gut health but also comprehensive nutritional intake – ie good in
- Repair the gut – this part of the protocol involves restoring gut integrity and microflora balance
- Reduce toxins and inflammation – an unhealthy gut allows for build-up of toxins and by products throughout the whole body. This is why joint problems, lack of concentration and brain fog are common in those with an unhealthy gut. Therefore a detox or reduction of toxins is critical and leads to an overall healthier body.
Although these steps seem straight forward, how these steps apply is unique to each person. So it is my suggestion that you seek the support and advice of a qualified professional (yep, that would be me) to help you best heal your gut. This is best done by one on one consultations that create a customised program just for you and your soon to be healthy gut.
The health of your gut is not simply about your digestive system. Gut health impacts the health and functioning of your whole body. So if you are suffering, get help as soon as possible. Not only for your gut but for your overall health and well-being.