Signs You Have an Unhealthy Gut and What to do About It
It might be surprising to learn that your gut plays a big role in how you look and feel and is involved with a wide range of health issues elsewhere in your body. You could even go so far as to say that your gut is the common denominator of many of the health problems that people face today. If that’s the case, it makes sense then, to assume that healing your gut can heal you in many other ways at the same time. So, how do you know that you have an unhealthy gut? Your body will tell you in a myriad of ways.
Obviously, you know that if you’re bloated, have diarrhea or are vomiting, that something is going on in your digestive tract. But your skin, hair, teeth, mood, attention span, memory, and weight can also alert you to an unhealthy gut. Your digestion is closely linked to other bodily functions so when your gut isn’t working correctly, other parts of your body will pay the price. Fortunately, healing your gut is possible and when you take steps in that direction, you also heal the other issues your body has been dealing with.
It takes commitment and dedication to create a lifestyle that supports good gut health, but once you take the first step on your journey, you’ll start to see results and they’ll motivate you to stay on track. Want to know what signs indicate a healthy gut and what you can do about it? Keep reading to find out.
Your skin is actually your body’s largest organ and it covers every inch of you. Research shows that gastrointestinal complaints are often present in conjunction with skin problems like acne, rosacea, psoriasis and dermatitis. The gut skin connection appears to be linked to an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the intestines. In scientific studies, researchers have found that simply by taking a probiotic supplement, you can reduce your skin issues by nearly half. This is because probiotics work to balance the bad bacteria with the good. When that happens, your digestion is able to function efficiently and that ensures that fewer toxins are left in the body, helping clear up your skin.
There are many things that can contribute to weight gain, including eating too many calories and not getting enough exercise. However, your gut bacteria are partially responsible for breaking down your food and helping you eliminate what isn’t needed to be converted into energy. When you have an overgrowth of the bad bacteria in your intestines, this food into energy conversion process is interrupted and your body holds onto more calories than it really needs, storing the excess energy as fat. While more research is needed, doctors are hopeful that these findings can help them better treat obesity.
If you’ve ever had an upset stomach, you know that it can affect your mood. You may write things like depression and anxiety off to your busy lifestyle, but you might not know that your gut could also be contributing to your mental well-being. Research on mice found that transferring the gut bacteria of happy and outgoing mice into more withdrawn and depressed mice gradually turned the unhappy mice into happy ones. This has led experts to conclude that the quality of your gut bacteria plays a role in your overall mental health. By boosting the good bacteria in your body, there’s clear evidence that you can combat depression, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability.
There are many autoimmune diseases, but the characteristic they all share is that in each of them, your body thinks that healthy cells are foreign invaders and attacks them. This leads to poor functioning of the immune system and produces inflammation in the body. Examples of autoimmune conditions include celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. By balancing the bacteria in your intestines, you can combat the symptoms of your autoimmune condition, including joint pain, skin complications, stomach upset, food sensitivities. and mood disorders.
As we’ve already demonstrated, a skewed ratio of good and bad bacteria in your gut can lend itself to weight gain and obesity. Being overweight is a significant contributor to diabetes, but it turns out that an unhealthy gut, on its own, also plays a role. Studies have found that people who suffer from type 2 diabetes often have high levels of bad bacteria in their bodies. By balancing your diet, you can stay at a healthy weight, something that helps reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Everyone experiences brain fog and fatigue from time to time. You might chalk it up to not getting enough sleep or being overly busy, but we have already learned that your gut also has a hand in how you’re feeling. An overgrowth of bad gut bacteria increases the mucus in your intestines, which hinders your body’s ability to absorb important vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat. It is creating a mild form of malnutrition in vital nutrients. By boosting the good bacteria and reducing the bad, you can eliminate problems with memory, difficulty in concentrating and staying focused, and general brain fog.
General Lowered Immunity
As you’ve likely deduced, your gut plays a big role in your overall health. A large part of your immunity functionality occurs in your digestive tract, so it makes sense to assume that keeping your gut healthy means keeping your entire body happy. If you find that you don’t feel well most of the time, you’re getting sick more often than the average person, or you’re always suffering from a nagging cough, it’s time to evaluate your gut health and take steps to get it back on track.
So, what’s a person to do? There are several ways you can address your gut bacteria and ensure that your intestines are operating at their full and best capacity. Here’s how:
Perhaps the easiest way to balance the good and bad bacteria in your body is to take a probiotic supplement. As mentioned earlier, probiotics are good types of bacteria and by adding more of them to your body, you help the gut bacteria ratio flourish in a good way. An over the counter probiotic is a simple thing to add to your routine but try to get a Probiotic/Prebiotic mix, and ensure it contains at least 50 billion CFU’s per serving. You can also get probiotics from certain processed or minimally-processed foods, including yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso, soft cheese, sourdough bread, pickles and tempeh. There are also specific proprietary preparations such as yogurt type drinks and probiotics are being added to dairy products by some well-known brands. A combination of these foods and/or a daily supplement may be all it takes to balance your body’s gut and eliminate some of the health issues you’ve been dealing with.
Things to Avoid
There are some things can that hinder good bacteria production in your body and limiting or eliminating them from your lifestyle can have an almost immediate effect on the way you look and feel. Things to stay away from include alcohol, caffeine and drugs. For some people, certain inflammatory foods can also contribute to gut problems. These foods may differ from person to person and you may need to eliminate them one at a time to determine which ones may be affecting you. Inflammatory foods include corn, soy, dairy, gluten, eggs, and sugar.
Repairing Your Gut
In addition to cutting out certain things from your life, there are foods, in addition to those with probiotics, and lifestyle choices that can help repair your gut and get rid of the symptoms that plague you. One of the best things you can do is to eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of foods from each food group, while also avoiding fast food, processed foods, and foods high in salt and sugar. Be sure you’re getting enough zinc, vitamins A, C and E, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can do this by filling your plate with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes.
The takeaway message here is that if your health is suffering in any way, look to your gut to see if there are clues that it is not healthy. Your doctor is a valuable resource in this process and can help you determine what might be happening inside your digestive tract. You may find that by simply boosting the good flora in your intestines, that you start to feel better in ways you don’t expect.
Yes, getting to the root cause of your health ailments by overhauling your gut health is a commitment, but it’s one you won’t regret making. The journey may take a little while, but the result will be one that you can most certainly live with. You’ll feel and look better, and your quality of life will improve dramatically. No more waiting around. Get started today and don’t look back.