‘Gut health’ is the term used to describe your body’s bacterial function and balance in all parts of your gastrointestinal tract. This is when organs such as the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines work together so you can eat and digest food without any discomfort. This lets us know that our gut health has a lot to do with how we feel when eating.
Scientists have found that the gut and brain are connected through a network of chemical messages. For example, when we have a stomach ache, it can be hard to focus on anything else. When the gut conflicts with the brain through hormones and neurotransmitters that send messages, chemical messages passed between them can be affected by bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside of us called the ‘gut microbiome.’
How can you tell if something is not right with your gut?
There are some early signals that are given from the gut that can help you to know that something is not quite right. These include bloating, fatigue after eating, constipation or diarrhoea, migraines and sometimes poor quality of sleep.
The digestive system has many functions including extracting nutrients from food and absorbing them into your body. The gut also provides protection for our intestinal tract by keeping bad bacteria out while allowing good bacteria to stay in. When this balance gets disrupted because there’s too much bad stuff or not enough good stuff then you have a problem with what we call ‘gut health‘. Gut health affects how well other systems function such as your immune system so when this starts going downhill it can lead to a variety of symptoms that make life more difficult
The effects of poor gut health on the cognitive function
Studies have shown that people who consume inflammatory ingredients are more susceptible to migraines and lethargy. In this case, the food particles leak from the gut which is inflamed and then enters into the bloodstream. We have seen clients return to a healthier lifestyle after discovering what foods were a problem for their gut.
How gut health affects you physically including IBS
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a group of symptoms that include pain in the abdomen and changes to your bowel movements, such as diarrhoea or constipation. It occurs without any visible signs of damage or disease in your digestive tract. Globally, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder with 10–15% of the population suffering from it.
Three types of IBS are based on different patterns of changes in your bowel movements or abnormal bowel movements.
● IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
● IBS with diarrhoea (IBS-D)
● IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M)
Who is most likely to suffer from IBS?
Doctors don’t know for sure what causes irritable bowel syndrome, however women are the most common sufferers. About twice as many women as men have the condition. It’s not clear why, but some researchers think the changing hormones in the menstrual cycle may have something to do with it.
Furthermore, some people with IBS seem to have trouble with stress, although it is still unclear which one comes first, the stress or the IBS. Research studies have identified an association between IBS symptoms and an increased IgG antibody immune response to foods consumed; with a number of these demonstrating a reduction in symptoms, following an appropriate IgG guided elimination diet.
What you can do to improve your gut health?
To minimise the risk of developing poor gut health, opt for a varied diet of whole foods. Vegetables are key as they contain good fibres that play a vital role as a prebiotic (the food that the gut bacteria feeds off). Avoid refined sugars and processed foods can also help improve gut health. Dairy and grains that contain gluten are most likely to cause food sensitivities, so avoiding these common intolerances can help. Many people have returned to a healthier lifestyle after discovering what foods were a problem for their gut by taking food intolerance tests.
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