Gut Health; Why Is It Important? What Are the Signs of an Unhealthy One? and What Can I Do to Improve It?
Why is gut health so important?
Everyone's chatting about gut health these days and for a good reason! The health of our gut has been linked to our immune system, our mood, skin conditions, autoimmune diseases, and our mental health. And as our gut is home to both good and bad bacteria, it's crucial to have the right balance(1).
Consuming prebiotics, probiotics, and certain foods help to increase your guts beneficial bacteria, which can help improve symptoms of depression, help fight obesity, and provide many other health benefits(2).
What are common signs of an unhealthy gut?
Disturbances in the stomach such as bloating, excessive gas and irregular bowel movements may be the underlying issues of an unhealthy gut.
Lethargy & Moodiness
The neurotransmitter (also known as serotonin) that helps regulate our moods and sleep is primarily produced in our gut. Suppose the number of harmful pathogens surpasses the number of beneficial bacteria. In that case, this can affect our serotonin levels, which will have a negative impact on our mood and ability to sleep well. So if you regularly find yourself tired and moody with no clear explanation, it could well be down to the health of your gut.
Eczema, Psoriasis and Skin Irritation's
A poor diet, excessive alcohol intake and food allergies may cause 'Leaky Gut Syndrome'(3). This syndrome can cause skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, among other health issues. Although 'Leaky Gut Syndrome' has not been recognised as an official medical condition, symptoms have been known to lessen when the gut is healthy.
Weight Gain or Weight Loss
An imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut can weaken your ability to absorb nutrients, store fat and regulate blood sugar. When your body functions in this way, it can lead to unwanted weight gain or weight loss.
Weakened Immune System
The wall of our intestines houses 70% of the cells that make up our immune system, so it is thought that an unhealthy gut alters the proper functioning of the immune system(4).
How can I maintain the health of my gut?
Foods containing dairy and gluten and foods high in refined sugar and fat are the main culprits of an unhealthy gut. These types of food destroy beneficial bacteria and feed all the harmful bacteria, so avoiding this food is an excellent start to improving the health of your gut.
In conjunction with avoiding such foods, it is also good to consume foods that actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. These foods include:
Foods High in Fibre
High-fibre foods such as chia, broccoli, and certain nuts have positively impacted gut health.
Why not try Bridget's Chia Breakfast Pudding? The fibre found in chia seeds may help lower LDL cholesterol and slow down digestion, preventing blood sugar spikes after eating a meal and promoting a feeling of fullness(5).
Get the full recipe HERE.
Garlic and onion
Studies suggest that certain foods with prebiotic fibres, such as garlic and onion, are more beneficial for the gut than others(6). Some of the primary functions of the gut have been closely tied to the immune system-enhancing properties garlic and onion possess.
Bridget created a Detox and Heal Garlic Broth packed full of healing ingredients that are good for our gut and great for helping with colds, the flu, and even hangovers. Garlic is naturally high in inulin, and if you've been following Bridget's Healthy Kitchen, you know inulin powder is a staple in Bridget's kitchen.
For Bridget's full Detox and Heal Garlic Broth recipe, click HERE.
Foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi and yoghurt are packed with beneficial bacteria as the good bacteria grow during the fermentation process, making them an excellent source of probiotics. Due to their amounts of beneficial bacteria, eating fermented foods is a perfect way to boost the health of your gut.
Dairy-free yoghurt(7) can also improve the health of your gut, which is excellent news for those who live a dairy-free lifestyle. Why not try making probiotic coconut yoghurt at home?
Click HERE for the recipe.
Collagen is mainly associated with skin elasticity and anti-ageing, but did you know collagen is also found in your intestinal lining(8), other connective tissues and other parts of your body? In regards to the gut, collagen may help maintain and repair its lining. Although anecdotal, further research is needed for the many benefits.
Bone broth, salmon, egg whites and chicken, among other foods, are rich in collagen-boosting properties and are beneficial for the gut's health.
Salmon is packed with high-quality protein and omega-3 fatty acids and can help lower inflammation and blood pressure. Try adding this fatty fish to your diet by creating Bridget's Sticky Salmon on Broccoli Rice dish.
Get the full recipe HERE.
Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to provide medical advice. All information, content, and material in this blog post are to inform the reader only. Our content is not intended to serve as a replacement for a qualified doctor or healthcare provider's consultation, diagnosis, and medical treatment.