So what do we mean when we refer to our gut?
In very simple terms your digestive tract, particularly the intestine or stomach. What we need to be getting to grips with is our gut microbiome which is the complex community of microorganisms (bacteria) which live in our gut. They essentially help to digest our food, produce vitamins during digestion and send signals to the immune system.
Why is your gut microbiome so important?
Research has revealed that gut health is critical to overall health. Researchers have found a connection between gut microbiome and a multitude of problems throughout the body including; diabetes, obesity, arthritis, depression & Alzheimer’s disease.
This is a relatively new area of research and as yet the exact mechanisms by which the gut interacts with your body are yet to be determined. However it is likely inflammation plays a big role; when your gut health is compromised this can lead to inflammation which has a big part to play in many modern diseases.
What can you do?
The good news is that you can improve the health of your gut by rebalancing the ratios of good to bad bacteria. Learn to listen to your gut. Symptoms such as bloating and stomach pain should not be an everyday occurrence!
hey are a sign that something has irritated your gut so look for triggers in your diet and lifestyle. Common triggers include gluten, dairy, caffeine, sugar, antibiotics and stress. If you can identify specific triggers then small changes in your diet can improve the health of your microbiome and reduce your unpleasant symptoms. For example if dairy is your trigger, switching to dairy free milk.
Incorporate fermented foods into your diet, even if you never experience any negative symptoms this is still a great idea for improving the overall health of your microbiome. Kefir, Kombucha, miso, sauerkraut; there are so many options and delicious recipes that make introducing fermented foods easy.
With more research being conducted all the time our knowledge of how our gut health affects our overall health is likely to drastically increase over the next few years. In the meantime, consider your gut microbiome your new BFF.