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The Importance of Gut Health in Overall Health

The gut is a part of the human body that has a significant role to play in our overall health. Numerous studies have been held in order to find out how the gut is related to the overall health and experts have discovered that there is direct and indirect relationships between our gut health and our immune system, mood, mental health, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, skin conditions, and even cancer.

The term “gut microbiome” is used in the medical sector to refer to the microorganisms that are living within our body, more specifically, in our intestines. A normal human being has around 300 to 500 different species of microorganisms and bacteria inside the digestive tract. Some microorganisms are harmful to our body, while some are not, and in fact are highly beneficial to our overall health.

‘Bacteria’ helping us to keep our body healthy sound weird right? While, having an unhealthy gut can completely shatter our overall health. But how do we even know whether we have a healthy gut or an unhealthy one?

Signs that show that you have an unhealthy gut.

Unhealthy lifestyle resulting from modern life habits like high stress levels, insufficient sleep, excessive consumption of processed and high-sugar foods, and regular intake of antibiotics, can all damage our gut microbiome. This will further impact different aspects of your overall health like the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, and more.

The best solution is to visit the Best Diagnostic Centre in Howrah near you and get your gut health checked. But for that you need to know the symptoms that indicate an unhealthy gut.

A few of the most common signs that indicate an unhealthy gut would include the following:

  • Stomach Disturbances- If you experience an upset stomach frequently due to issues like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, heartburn, and the like, these signs could indicate an unhealthy gut. A healthy gut does not face such difficulties in digesting food and eliminating waste.
  • High-sugar Intake- If you are in the habit of following a diet that is high in processed foods and added sugars, it results in decreasing the amount of good bacteria present withing your gut and intestinal tract. This leads to you having frequent sugar-cravings, which if you satiate, can cause more harm to your gut health. High quantities of refined sugar, like high-fructose corn syrup to be specific, can increase inflammation within the body, leaving your body prone to risks of serious diseases and even cancer.
  • Sudden & Unintentional Weight-gain or Weight-loss- If you notice that you are suddenly gaining or losing weight without making any changes to your daily diet or exercise routine, it indicates an unhealthy gut. When you don’t have a healthy and balanced gut, your body’s natural ability to absorb nutrients from the food you eat daily, ability to regulate sugar levels within the body, and ability to store fat, all are compromised. You may lose weight due to a condition caused by SIBO, which stands for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. You may also gain weight because of insulin resistance or the body’s urge to eat more than usual due to decreased nutrient absorption.
  • Disturbed Sleep & Prolonged Fatigue- If you have an unhealthy gut, you are also likely to experience problem while sleeping or uneven patterns of sleep, or too little sleep. You may develop insomnia which further leads to chronic fatigue, making you feel drained and out of energy all day. Serotonin is a hormone that affects mood and sleep, and the major part of our body’s serotonins are present in our gut. Hence, an unhealthy gut can completely jeopardise our ability to get sound and sufficient sleep.
  • Skin Conditions- Doctors and scientists have also often found a relationship between gut health and eczema. When your gut is unhealthy, it causes inflammation within your gut, especially when you follow a poor or unhealthy diet or food have food allergies. Both the conditions may cause increased secretion of specific proteins that leak out of the gut into the body, resulting in skin irritations and causing serous skin conditions like eczema.
  • Auto-immune Diseases- Research is constantly bringing up newer ways in which our gut health impacts our body’s immune system. Unhealthy gut is believed to cause systemic inflammation and disturb the natural functioning of the immune system, leading to autoimmune diseases in which our own body attacks itself rather than attacking the harmful microorganisms invading our system.
  • Food Intolerance- Food Intolerances are not the same as food allergies. Food intolerances result from difficulty in digesting certain foods. If your gut has all the bad and harmful bacteria, you are likely to experience food intolerances. You may face difficulty in digesting certain food items and result in symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and nausea.

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How can you improve your gut health?

  1. Keep Stress under Check- High stress levels are harmful not only to your whole body, but also to your gut health. Hence, to maintain a healthy gut, it is important to keep your stress levels under control by trying out methods and practices that include meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, reducing caffeine intake, yoga, and more. Anything that helps keep the mind calm will help keep the body healthy.
  2. Sufficient hours of sleep- Insufficient sleep hours and disturbed sleeping patterns cause serous harm to your gut health. Hence, try all possible methods to get a minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep everyday without fail. You can try meditation, calming music, reading books, and more to get good sleep. If you still face problems, consulting a doctor will be the ideal step further.
  3. Eat Well- Eating well is not just about eating the right food. It is about chewing your food properly and taking time to eat instead of just gulping down food in a hurry all the time. Research shows that when we chew our food well and eat slowly, it boosts the digestive capabilities of the body and help our digestive system absorb nutrients better, leading to a healthier gut.
  4. Hydration is Essential- When we drink plenty of water throughout the day, every day, it has a positive impact on the balance of good bacteria present within your gut, along with benefitting the mucosal lining of our intestines. Staying hydrated throughout the day is probably the simplest solution for an unhealthy gut.
  5. Try Pre-biotic or Probiotic Supplements- Prebiotic or probiotic supplements help improve your gut health significantly. The Prebiotic supplements give your body the food it needs to promote the growth of good bacteria within your gut. The probiotic supplements are simply live good bacteria that you intake to boost the health of your gut. But both Prebiotic and probiotic supplements should be taken after consultation with your doctor because there are several medical conditions wherein intake of either of the supplements are prohibited.
  6. Tweak you diet- If you want to improve your gut health, you have to shift to a healthier diet, because the fact that you have an unhealthy and unbalanced gut is mainly because of a poor diet. Hence, eliminate all food that is processed, is high in sugar, and high in fat, from your daily diet. Include plenty of plant-based foods and lean protein in your daily diet to boost the health and digestive capabilities of your gut. Adopt a high-fibre diet to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
  7. Get tested for Food Intolerances- If you’re experiencing cramps, bloating, severe or frequent abdominal pain, diarrhoea, rashes, fatigue, or acid reflux, you’re most likely to be suffering from a food intolerance. You may try to identify the trigger foods and eliminate them from your diet to check if you still experience similar symptoms or not. But if you’re not able to identify the trigger food yourself, it would be best to get professional help and get tested, both for food allergies and food intolerance, in a Diagnostic Centre or even Pathology Labs for Blood Tests.

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