Did you know there are approximately 40 trillion bacteria in your body and most are found in your gut? Many factors can influence the bacteria found in our digestive tract, including the food we eat and the lifestyle we live.
Maintaining good gut health is extremely important for your mental and physical health. Our gut absorbs nutrients that support our essential body functions. In saying this, many people still don’t prioritise gut health
We’ve put together some examples of an unhealthy gut and tips to prioritise your gut health.
Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Upset Stomach & Constant fatigue
If you suffer from an upset stomach or constant fatigue, this could be a sign of an unhealthy gut. With the brain connected to the gut, disturbances such as gas, bloating, and poor sleep are all common signs. A balanced gut will have less difficulty eliminating waste and processing food.
Abnormal weight loss or gain without making significant changes to your lifestyle can be another sign of an unhealthy gut. When our bodies can’t properly absorb key nutrients, this can lead to problems. Weight loss can indicate bacterial overgrowth, while weight gain can be cause by insulin resistance.
If you’ve never suffered from food intolerances before, this is another sign of an unhealthy gut. When your gut has difficulty breaking down and digesting some foods, this can cause poor quality of bacteria in the gut, which can lead to issues like gas, nausea, bloating and other unpleasant symptoms.
Tips for Prioritising Your Gut Health
Eat Real Foods
When we eat whole foods, we feed our bodies the nutrition we need. Junk foods, alcohol, and other highly processed foods can lead to an imbalance of bacteria in the gut.
The best food groups are prebiotics, such as whole grains, bananas, greens, and herbs such as onions and garlic. Prebiotics are specialised plant fibers. They act like fertilizers that stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and influence better digestive health. Whereas, probiotics already have live organisms. Their role is to help add healthy microbes to your gut. It’s still recommended to consume probiotic foods, such as yoghurt, and kombucha to continue maintaining good gut health.
Drinking water is a simple and effective way to promote a healthy gut. Adequate water can help regulate your bowel movements and help break down foods in combination with stomach acids and enzymes.
Reduce Your Stress
It comes as no surprise that stress influences our gut. When we reduce our stress, it can have a positive effect on our mental health and wellbeing.
Aim to move your body for at least 30 minutes per day. This could be in the form of walking or going to the gym. Another way to lower stress can be spending time with friends, meditating, or simply taking a break for yourself.
Low-stress levels also help maintain healthy cortisol levels. When our body has excess cortisol, this hormone is harmful to our long-term health.
Not getting enough sleep can also increase stress, which also affects the gut. Issues can include bloating, stomach pain, inflammation and changes to the gut microbiome. Aim to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night to maintain a sufficient quality of sleep.