What Is Gut Health?
We promote a healthy diet for our clients in Oceanside, CA, which includes food to eat for better gut health. While many of you may not be eating specifically for improving your digestive tract or elimination system, a healthy diet is one way to improve it. What does gut health entail? It’s about having a healthy environment for digestion. If you’ve found yourself bloated or gassy after eating, it’s time to think about a healthy gut.
You have thousands of microbes inside you.
While the ratio of microbes in your elimination and digestion system has been reconsidered, it was one time believed you actually had more microbes than cells. However, the minute you defecate, that ratio changes dramatically. Even so, there has been an estimation that the body contains about 100 trillion microorganisms. While they’d only account for about a pound or two of weight, many are extremely important for good health. Your gut or digestive and elimination system contains from a low estimate of 300 to a high of 1,000 different species, with just 30 to 40 of them being the most plentiful. The beneficial bacteria and microbes have a symbiotic relationship with humans, providing some of the digestive processes to deliver nutrients we can use. Without them, people would die of malnutrition.
What causes an unhealthy gut and how do you know you have one?
You may already know one of the signs of an unhealthy gut. It’s a combination of bloating, gassiness, diarrhea or constipation. Gas-X and Beano become your best friend. Other signs are more illusive. It may be insomnia, mood disorders, autoimmune diseases, bad breath, skin conditions and even food intolerance. Some studies show that cancer might even be a result of poor gut health. A craving for sugar not only promotes poor gut health, it’s a result of poor gut health. Not eating a diet that provides adequate nutrition, including prebiotic foods with fiber, overindulgence in alcohol, cigarette smoking, stress, lack of sleep and use of antibiotics can tilt the scales from a healthy gut to one that’s not.
Eating prebiotic food and fermented or probiotic food can help.
Anyone that watches television probably has seen the commercials for some brands of yogurt that provide a probiotic boost to the body. Fermented foods also help. These include kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut. However, you can also boost your gut health with prebiotics, foods that encourage the growth of beneficial microbes. Garlic, onions, mushrooms, bananas and apples are a few.
- Studies are now showing that lack of exercise can tip the scales to poor gut health. In the studies, regular exercise produced a healthier blend of bacteria for digestion. Stress, another factor in poor gut health, is also reduced.
- If you take antibiotics, always replace the beneficial bacteria killed by eating live bacteria yogurt or other fermented food and hour before the antibiotic or an hour afterward.
- Staying hydrated also helps gut health. Drink at least eight 8-oz glasses of water a day to be at your best.
- Cut the sugar and the processed food habit for better gut health. Whole foods have more fiber and provide a friendlier environment for beneficial microorganisms.