How your Gut Health Affects your Immune Responses, your Weight and your Brain FunctionDid you know that the bacterial cells in your gut outnumber your own cells 10 to 1? Click To Tweet
We refer to these microbes in your digestive tracts
First, let’s talk about how your gut health affects your overall health through each of these functions to help you understand why restoring your gut health matters. Then, we will learn 5 ways you can restore your gut health
Your gut health and your immune function
Poor gut health will result in immunological dysregulation. Perhaps you thought your immune system controlled bacteria in your body. It is true that when outside organisms try to invade your body, your immune system will react, but the story doesn’t end there. There is evidence to suggest that your gut bacteria also controls your immune system.
From the moment of birth, humans are colonized by foreign microorganisms through the nose, mouth, skin, genital tracts and gut. The symbiotic relationship between these organisms is crucial as they break down nondigestible carbohydrates and they offer protection against opportunistic invaders. In addition, we are finding out that they help modulate the immune system. For example, allergic children have been found to have a different bacteria composition. There are studies to indicate a link between your gut microbiome and a host of conditions like colon cancer, obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases, type 2 diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Your gut health and your weight
Your gut bacteria produce a variety of vitamins, synthesize protein and break down nondigestible carbohydrates and impact your body size. Leaner people, for example, tend to have a wider range of gut bacteria, but this alone doesn’t demonstrate causality. In a series of experiments, baby rodents were raised germ-free to ensure that their bodies would be free of any bacteria. One group of rodents were then colonized with intestinal microbes from an obese woman, and another group of rodents was colonized with intestinal microbes from her slim twin sister. All rodents ate the same diet in equal amounts. The rodents that received the microbes from the obese twin grew heavier and had more body fat.
Your gut health and your brain
Read this article to learn how your gut is your second brain.
We have made significant progress over the past decade to recognize the important bidirectional communication between the gastrointestinal tracts and the central nervous system. This is called the gut-brain axis. A growing body of evidence shows that our beneficial gut bacteria support positive mood and emotional well-being. For example, differences in the gut microbiome exist between people with anxiety and depression and those without these issues.
Besides, altering the gut microbiome with probiotics can decrease feelings of anxiety and positively affect emotional processing. Several studies show evidence of improved aspects of well-being after taking probiotics. Nourishing your beneficial gut bacteria will also reduce anxiety and decrease stress. A recent study evaluating the effects of prebiotics on well-being provided additional evidence of the gut bacteria positively affecting mental health. Prebiotics are carbohydrates that humans cannot digest, but bacteria in our guts can.
5 Ways Restore your Gut Health Naturally
All disease begins in the gut.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, understood the importance of the gut health 2500 years ago. So, how do we nourish the gut? Here are 5 ways you can build your gut flora:
1- Fermented foods
Coconut yogurt, fermented sauerkraut, and kombucha, miso and water kefir are great options. Learn how to make fermented veggies the easy way here.
2- Bone Broth
If you don’t make bone broth, now is the time to start. It’s cheap, simple and healing. Sometimes, I don’t even add any vegetables. I just throw bones and water in a pot and simmer for a few hours. The resulting liquid is rich in minerals, collagen, glutamin, glycine and prolin.
3- Cooked vegetables
There are many types of diets out there and they all gather some sort of following. Fortunately, whether you are vegan, paleo, high carb, low carb, high fat, low fat, we can all agree on one thing: more vegetables. Just remember that cooking them will aid digestion. Yes, raw veggies contain enzymes and they are still a great choice, but they also contain cellulose, a fiber hard to digest by humans (see the section on prebiotics below).
4- Fish and Fish oil
Fish is rich in Omega 3 and vitamin D. There seem to be a link between gut disorders and vitamin D deficiency.
5- Prebiotic Fibers
Most of us know about probiotics. But have you heard of prebiotics? Did you know you can feed the good bacteria in your gut? Nondigestible carbohydrates (NDCH) act as food for probiotics and they are called prebiotics. The first NDCH we come into contact with is mother’s milk. Breastmilk contains 100 times NDCH than cow’s milk. It includes over 130 different oligosaccharides and glycoconjugates and proportionately contains 90% galacto-oligosaccharides and 10% fructo-oligosaccharides. Plant foods are the best sources of NDCH, but just a word of caution: mammalians rely on their gut microbes to break down cellulose
So, how do you know if you need to heal your gut? Here are a few questions to ask yourself: do I suffer from chronic fatigue, allergies, food sensitivities? Do I deal with any chronic health issue that is affecting my quality of life? If you answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to start eating these healing foods daily.