What is "gut health" and why is it so important?

What is "gut health" and why is it so important?

You may have heard people say that “the gut is our second brain”. This expression is frequently used to emphasize the complex relationship between the brain and gut health. Think of the nerves in your stomach as a mini-brain, controlling digestion that's your gut simplified! This ‘second brain’ interacts with the primary brain, impacting each other's functions.

Why is gut health so hyped up?

Our emotions and mental health are also influenced by chemicals made in the stomach, such as dopamine and serotonin. Our gut health may influence mental well-being, emotions, and cognitive abilities, showcasing a close link between our gut health and emotional as well as cognitive functions. The excitement surrounding gut health stems from several sources, including scientific advancements, popular culture, and increasing health awareness. This is an explanation:

Mysteries surrounding the microbiome: Studies are providing insight into the trillions of bacteria that call our digestive tract home. These microscopic creatures affect immune response, nutrition absorption, digestion, and even brain activity. The close connections show a strong link between gut health and overall well-being.
Links to chronic diseases: Research suggests that there according to the studies is a connection between gut health and several chronic illnesses, like type 2 diabetes, obesity, anxiety, and depression.

Credits: John Hopkins University

What should I do to keep my gut healthy?

Nutrition and Diet:

Consume a diet high in fibre; try to get between 25 and 35 grams daily. Nuts, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are good sources. Your gut's beneficial bacteria are fed by fibre.

Prebiotics for Gut Health: 

Indigestible fibres known as prebiotics support beneficial bacteria. Foods such as onions, garlic, bananas, asparagus, and artichokes contain them.

Probiotics for Gut Health:

Probiotics, or living bacteria, are found in fermented foods including yoghurt, kombucha, and buttermilk aiding in improving gut health.

Avoid processed foods: 

Processed foods frequently contain high levels of sugar, bad fats, and additives, all of which can damage the gut ecosystems.

Keep yourself hydrated:

Water facilitates the passage of food through your digestive system and helps ward off constipation, so drink enough of it. Try to get 8 glasses a day.

Consider Probiotic Supplements:

If you find it difficult to obtain adequate probiotics from your diet, you can try including some supplements to help meet your daily requirements of various vitamins and minerals. This can compensate for the nutrients lacking in your diet.

Some lifestyle changes are required for healthy gut health

De-stress for a better Gut Health:

Control your stress levels because they can harm your digestive system. Try yoga, meditation, or just spending time in nature as ways to de-stress.

Get adequate rest:

Get adequate rest; try to get 7-8 hours per night. Your gut microbiota can get disturbed by sleep deprivation.

Exercise regularly: 

By boosting digestion and blood flow, exercise can help maintain gut health. On most days of the week, try to get in at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise.

Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine: 

Caffeine and alcohol can upset the microbiota and irritate the lining of the stomach.

Pay attention to your ‘gut feeling’: 

Observe the cues your body is sending you. Avoid some foods and beverages if they give you a bloated, gassy, or unpleasant feeling. Supplements can also assist in dealing with bloating.

Consult a certified dietitian: 

A registered dietitian can assist you in formulating a customized strategy to enhance your digestive system. Keep in mind that every person has a unique stomach, so what suits one person may not suit another. Hence before making any significant dietary or lifestyle changes, always get medical advice.

Keep it simple, listen to your body, and here's to finding what makes your stomach smile!