5 Reasons Your Gut Health Is More Important Than You Think

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Recent studies from the John Hopkins Centre for Neurogastroenterology in Baltimore have determined that the gut acts as a second brain to the body.

The gut has its own enteric nervous system (ENS) to control digestion, unlike other body parts which rely on brain signals.

This means that the digestive system can adapt to the types of foods being consumed.

Maintaining a healthy gut has many benefits both physically and mentally.

Skin

Jessica Brown, a qualified nutritionist states that indigestion can lead to poor absorption of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which result in the flakiness and dehydration of the skin.

When the body only has a small source of nutrients to go around, it drives them to vital organs like the brain, heart and liver first.

Unfortunately, the skin, hair and nails are last on this list.

The cause of many skin issues such as acne, eczema and psoriasis are rooted in poor gut health so it is essential to have good gut health and consume plenty of nutrient rich foods.

It is also crucial to consume at least 2L of water a day as this will fasten the pace in which the digestive system absorbs nutrients to reveal glowing, radiant skin. 

Energy

Having long-lasting energy to get through the day is essential, which is why many resort to a quick cup of coffee in the morning before work.

Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant drug which activates the central nervous system.

Having a healthy gut, however, can give a natural energy boost without the crashing sensation experienced when engaging with synthetic boosters.

With a balanced microbiome, the gut is able to properly absorb nutrients such as fresh produce, nuts and grains, providing longer lasting energy.

The good bacteria also work hard to keep the blood sugar balanced so that the highs and lows of their energy aren’t felt as dramatically.

Woman doing alternate crunches on a gym mat. Image from Pexels.

Weight Loss

A study co-created by Dr Purna Kashyap, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic found that maintaining the friendly flora in the gut can help quicken the pace of weight loss.

The bacteria in the gut is responsible for food digestion as well as producing chemicals (leptin, ghrelin and peptide YY) to alert a full stomach.

With an imbalanced gut microbiome, there is risk of overeating as the chemicals that analyse appetite are not being produced.

As well as this, overproduction of bad bacteria can stimulate unnecessary fats which are stored in the body hindering weight loss.

Mentality 

Ninety-five percent of serotonin, a happy hormone, is produced in the gut.

In order to upkeep the production of serotonin in the body, the creation of good gut bacteria must be in abundance.

This can be achieved by incorporating prebiotic rich foods (non-digestible) and probiotic rich foods (live beneficial bacteria) into the daily diet.

This includes foods like apples, broccoli, garlic, cocoa, oats, yoghurt, kimchi, pickles and Kombucha.

By establishing a healthy microbiome full of friendly flora, it will encourage a higher production of serotonin within the gut.

This results in a lower risk of depression, anxiety or low moods.

Immune System

A study by June L. Round and Sarkis K. Mazmanian suggests that the gut environment is primarily responsible for how strong the immune system is.

The individual microbiota, determine how easily the body can fight off sickness and disease.

When an excessive amount of alcohol is consumed daily, the digestive system has a higher risk of inflammation as the alcohol kills both good and bad bacteria.

It is important for the gut to have a healthy, diverse range of bacteria to assist in the reduction of intestinal inflammation as well as to form a barrier against gastrointestinal tract pathogens entering the body’s molecular ecosystem.

A healthy gut essentially strengthens the immune system’s production of antibodies, the cellular soldiers that fight bacterial infections and lower the risk of getting sick.

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Anisha Rapthi

CONTRIBUTOR

Anisha's perfect Friday night consists of playing boardgames and sharing a laugh with her nearest and dearest while devouring some Messina ice-cream. She is passionate about learning from empowering women and can usually be found listening to podcasts, watching videos or reading articles, obsessing over whoever the latest ally is. Like most millennials, her favourite way to wind-down is to grab a yummy snack and binge-watch her favourite Netflix series.

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