Is your gut health having a detrimental effect on your overall body & mind?

Gut health has a huge impact on whole-body health. Research shows that a healthy gut contributes to a healthy heart, strong immune system, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, healthy skin, fight infection and aids digestion. Having healthy gut microbiota (bacteria) has even been shown to help prevent some cancers and autoimmune diseases.


Researchers have discovered that our gut contains another nervous system, known as the enteric nervous system (our “second brain”) which communicates with the brain in our head. Together, “our two brains” play a key role in certain diseases in our bodies and overall health.


How to achieve a healthy gut

When dealing with our gut health the aim is to take a two-pronged approach. Firstly, we must be mindful of our mental well-being such as negative thoughts, stress and anxiety because our mental state can affect our gut and cause gastrointestinal (GI) problems and vice versa and secondly, we must be mindful of the foods we consume so that we consume more healthy foods that aid our gut health.


Psychological treatment techniques have been shown to help ease GI distress or at least help a person cope with their GI symptoms.


Other techniques such as practicing mindfulness, meditation, outdoor activities such as going for a nice walk-in nature, basking in sunlight or listening to the calming sound of waves can also help you release any feelings of anxiety and stress.


Consuming the right food

In addition to maintaining a healthy mind to help us maintain a healthy gut, we also need to be mindful of the food we consume in order to achieve a healthy and balanced diet. It is well documented that some foods we eat can result in a reduction of good gut bacteria, cause inflammation and can increase our chances of getting certain diseases including insulin resistance, weight gain, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancer.


Therefore, limiting your consumption of processed, fatty, oily foods, and foods that cause inflammation can go a long way to creating a healthy and balanced gut.


A balanced gut means you have more good bacteria than bad bacteria and you can achieve this by consuming healthy foods which include fresh produce such as green vegetables and fruits, good fats including avocado and oily fish, good proteins such as beans, nuts, seed and organic chicken, fiber such as apples and broccoli, good carbs such as oats, as well as minerals, vitamins, and probiotic rich food. 


If you find yourself experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, irritable bowl, indigestion, bloating, dehydration you may have an imbalance of good and bad bacteria.


To regain a balanced gut, you can increase your intake of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms (good bacteria) found in certain foods or supplements. These microorganisms play a central role in health and disease and are even involved in immune function and digestion. They can also help resolve and prevent gastrointestinal issues.  


There are many ways to take probiotics nowadays, too. The most common form is yogurt. Many people choose this option to get their daily dose of probiotics because of the taste, and because it’s considered to be a healthy snack. Plain yoghurt is best as some of the flavored yoghurts contain too much added sugar or other additives that are not good for you.


If you want to add some flavour to your yoghurt consider adding some fruits like blueberries or strawberries which will provide you with fiber and antioxidents.


If you’re not into the taste and texture of yogurt, however, you can also go with a supplement. There are many different brands on the market to choose from.


And in addition to yogurt and capsuled probiotics, there are now liquid versions of it too. Check your local grocery or health food store and see what probiotic drinks they have to offer.


Other probiotic options include kefir, which is a fermented probiotic milk drink, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, Miso, kombucha and pickles.


Whatever method you choose to use, the end result will be a healthy gut full of good bacteria!

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