Did you know that many health conditions stem from our gut health?
It kinda makes sense, if you think about it. Our gut is where the nutrients from our food is digested and absorbed. And depending on what we are putting into our body, our gut health reflects that.
Research in the past two decades has shown links between gut health and the immune system, mental health, mood, autoimmune issues, skin conditions, endocrine disorders, and even cancer.
Our “gut microbiome” consists of about 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria the our digestive tract. Some are very beneficial, and some can be harmful to our health. Having a wide variety of the good bacteria in our gut can enhance our immune system, improve symptoms of depression, help against obesity, and many other benefits.
What we eat has a dramatic impact on our gut microbiome. So if we eat a lot of processed foods, high sugar foods, take a lot of antibiotics, this can negatively affect our gut health, and in turn our overall health.
So what are some symptoms of an unhealthy gut to indicate that it might be time for a change?
Symptoms of an Poor Gut Health
- Stomach issues like gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea
- Sugar cravings – If you’re eating a lot of process foods and sugars, this can decrease the good bacteria in your gut, which can cause cravings. High amounts of refined sugars (particularly high fructose corn syrup) has been linked to increased inflammation, which has been linked to several diseases and even cancer.
- Unintentionally gaining or losing weight without changes to your diet or exercise habits can be a sign of an unhealthy gut.
- Insomnia and poor sleep leading to chronic fatigue can be a symptom of poor gut health. Most of the body’s serotonin (a hormone that affects mood and sleep) is produced in the gut.
- Skin irritations like eczema may be related to a leaky gut. Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased leaking of certain proteins from the gut into the body, which can irritate the skin and cause skin conditions.
- More and more research is linking the impact of gut health on the immune system. An unhealthy gut can cause inflammation which can lead to autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself.
- Food intolerances (not to be confused with food allergies) are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods. The theory is that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality gut bacteria, which can lead to difficulty digesting the trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms like gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and diarrhea.
Are you experiencing one or more of these symptoms? If so, it may be time to make some changes to your health habits to bring your gut back to a healthy place.