Gut health: Explained and What can you do improve it

What is the gut in the human body?

The GI tract is a series of hollow organs joined in a long, twisting tube from the mouth to the anus. The hollow organs that make up the GI tract are the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. The liver, pancreas, and gallbladder are the solid organs of the digestive system.

Good gut health occurs when you have a balance between the good (helpful) and bad (potentially harmful) bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. In fact, 80% of your immune system is in the gut, and the majority of your body’s serotonin is, too. This means if your gut isn’t healthy, then your immune system and hormones won’t function, and you will get ill.

The gut is the foundation of everything. It aids in the digestion of the foods you eat, absorbs nutrients, and uses it to fuel and maintain your body. So, if your gut is imbalanced and your immune system isn’t working properly, your serotonin and hormones won’t either, making it more challenging to stay healthy. Your gut is also where your body gets rid of metabolic waste and toxins. However, if you have an unhealthy gut, your body will struggle to rid itself of those toxins. If this occurs, it can cause many issues, including chronic fatigue, chronic illnesses and inflammation throughout the body. That’s why people experience symptoms such as brain fog, diarrhoea, constipation, gas, joint pain, etc. You may not realise it, but the brain is the second gut; therefore, if your gut isn’t working, your brain is struggling too.

What are the signs of an unhealthy gut?

An unhealthy gut can appear as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea, but it can present itself in many other forms as well. Autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis (MS), where your immune system is attacking different parts of the body, can also be a sign of an unhealthy gut. Brain fog, headaches, poor concentration and memory, fatigue, chronic pain, trouble sleeping and issues with cravings or bad moods are also symptoms and critical indicators of a poor microbiome.

What factors affect the health of our gut?

While several factors can contribute to poor gut health, some of the most common can include:

Stress: This increases intestinal permeability (leaky gut), tipping the scales toward an imbalance of more bad than good bacteria in the gut.

Poor nutrition: Most people eat processed food and sugar, which can harm the beneficial bacteria in your gut and contribute to or cause inflammation throughout the body.

Long-term use of antibiotics and antacids – They all decrease B12 within the gut, which is essential in cell production, brain function and energy. They also kill the good bacteria that live in your gut. However, it’s important to note that there is a time and a place for these medications, but it’s best to consult with your physician before using them.

Things you can do to improve gut health

Just as there are lifestyle and diet factors that can negatively impact gut health, there are also changes you can make to your everyday life and routine that can benefit your gut health and overall physical and mental wellbeing:

-Lower stress levels

-Get good quality sleep

-Eat slowly

-Stay hydrated

-Include prebiotic and probiotics in your diet

-Change your diet 

Highly processed foods may negatively affect your gut health but there is a range of foods that can benefit your gut's microbiome, help introduce good bacteria and reduce the number of bad bacteria too. Specific supplements such as probiotic complexes and prebiotic blends can also be a way to do this. 

Probiotic foods (fermented foods)

  • Kefir
  • Tempeh
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Yoghurt

Prebiotic foods

  • Chicory root
  • Artichoke
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • High-fibre foods
  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Avocados

High-fibre foods

  • Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Berries
  • Avocados

Worst foods for your gut health

Many foods have the potential to disrupt your gut health. Many of these are considered unhealthy foods when too prevalent in your diet anyway, but they can also affect the bacteria in your digestive system, leading to unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms and contributing to digestive disorders. 

Foods to avoid include:

  • Red meat
  • Breads, cakes and biscuits made from white sugar and white flour
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine

To conclude, your gut health is an imperative component of how your body functions, with poor guy health leading to a range of symptoms and contributing to a variety of conditions. Everyone's gut microbiome is unique and can be affected by a range of diet and lifestyle choices. If you want to improve your gut health, you can change the foods you eat, opting for prebiotic, probiotic and fibre-rich foods, and avoiding highly processed products.

Disclaimer: I am a professional celebrity facialist who has also mastered and enjoys all things Ayurvedic. I recommend and advise everyone to check their GPS before taking on any diet or supplements. The blog is a mere reflection of what works for me and general knowledge I have decided to share with my public.