Part 1: Gut Health Is Super Important

Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you all? What is your gut feeling about the covid-19 vaccination? Soon or not so soon?

Ever wondered why we say gut feeling? Gut here means our intestine, colon or large intestine more specifically. Since when our intestines feel or say anything, leave alone predicting anything? Ever wondered? Actually, it has something to do with our gut-health. In this first part today, let us know more about the importance of a healthy gut.

Why Is A Healthy Gut Important?

Do you know that our gut-microbiome is made up of around 100 trillion microorganisms of 300-500 species, consisting of bacteria, viruses or fungi? Almost like a vital organ in itself, it would be very difficult for us to survive without these micro-organisms. These start affecting us as a newborn baby and eventually, we become more bacteria than human! Am not exaggerating! We have around 30 trillion human-cells in our body and 40 trillion bacteria cells.

For ages, it was believed that our intestine is a simple organ that just helps in bowel-management and digestion of food. However, it is much, much beyond that. It is also complex eco-system of micro-organisms and there is so much happening in our guts with so many little bacteria living inside and doing so much of chemical actions and reactions…all the time! It impacts:

  • Digestion including effective digestion of breast milk in newborns
  • Prevents stomach aches, bowel disorders, bloating and cramps etc
  • Digestion of fibre which in turn controls weight loss, diabetes, blood pressure etc
  • Protection of Gastro-Intestinal barrier i.e. intestinal-lining, thereby preventing ‘leaky gut’. Leaky gut syndrome, in short, can be held responsible for breast cancer, obesity, chronic fatigue and depression etc
  • Immunity – by protecting us from infections from foreign bacteria, fungi and virus. In fact these gut-bacteria make up for more than 75% of our immune system! The better your gut-health is, the better your immunity would be!
  • Weight management and metabolism regulation
  • Blood sugar management
  • Heart health
  • Cholestrol management
  • Brain and nervous system health – Gut-bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals that the brain uses to regulate moods, memory and other learnings
  • Hormones
  • Sleep
  • Prevents some cancers and auto-immune diseases
  • Destroying of harmful bacteria
  • Production of vitamin K, folate and short-chain fatty acids

Did You Know?

Our friendly bacteria in the gut, make 95% of our body’s supply of serotonin. Serotonin is also called ‘Happy Hormone’ as it makes us feel well and happy. Happiness in the gut, really?

Our brain and intestine are deeply interlinked. If one is in trouble, the other gets affected. Our gastro-intestinal tract is sensitive to all our emotions. Have you ever noticed that you feel nervous, feel like throwing up or have ‘butterflies in stomach’ before a big presentation or performance? Or when you are stressed out, you get a heartburn?

How Do I Know If My gut Is Healthy?

If you suffer from one or many of the below, you might want to take better care of your gut-health:

  • Frequent or chronic stomach-upsets such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation etc
  • Frequent heartburns or stomach aches or nausea
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Constant exhaustion
  • Sleep issues
  • Frequent colds and low immunity in general
  • Skin conditions such as eczema etc

How Does It Get Imbalanced?

Our gut health gets negatively affected by our diet and lifestyle such as;

  • A high-sugar diet
  • A limited diet which does not have much of whole foods and whole grains. The diversity in food is important to have a healthy gut-flora. The diverse we eat, the diverse the bacteria grow
  • A lack of probiotics in diet
  • Eating too much processed food
  • Due to use of antibiotics – Antibiotics do not differentiate between good and bad bacteria. While they kill bad bacteria, good bacteria are lost too. The effects could last for a couple of weeks…to two years!
  • Too much alcohol consumption
  • Lack of physical activity – People who are physically fit and active have more butyrate (a short-chained fatty acid) produced in body which is important for gut health
  • Smoking
  • Lack of good sleep
  • Stress

In my next week’s post, we shall discuss how we can take care of our gut-health, now that we know how important it is.

The good news is that it is not that hard to take care of our gut health. A little effort on our part can have a tremendous impact on our gut-health and our overall health. It is just that we were never taught to take care of our gut-health in particular, the way we are told to take care of our cardiac health or diabetes or even weight loss.

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

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