Why Gut Health Holds the Key to Overall Health
The human digestive tract is home to trillions of microorganisms. It is a complex ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites, collectively referred to as the gut microbiome. Incredibly, these microbes possess 100 times more DNA than what is found in the rest of the human body, making us more microbial than human!
"People have co-evolved with environmental bacteria (that have) adapted over eons to being at home in human bodies. The present-day result is that our metabolism, our neurons and indeed our entire physiology is an interactive cross-talk with the bacteria in our bodies," said Bruce R. Stevens, professor of physiology and functional genomics in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.
Two-thirds of the body's immune system resides in the gut. 95% of the body's "feel-good" hormone serotonin is produced not in the brain but the gut. The health of the gut microbiota determines the functionality of the digestive tract, immune system, endocrine system, cardiovascular system, skeletal system, brain and skin. Without a healthy gut microbiome, overall health is genuinely impossible.
While there isn't one "normal" microbiome for humans, the growing body of research indicates that specific species and colonization patterns are beneficial. They lead to better health outcomes throughout all stages and phases of life. Any impairment in our gut means that our overall health is compromised. For one to feel excellent overall, our microbiome must be diverse and robust.
10 Factors That Disrupt the Gut Microbiome:
Antibiotic use Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Naproxen, etc.) C-Section births Chronic stress Low stomach acid Excess alcohol consumption Excess sugar consumption Poor dietary habits Chronic infections Travel
How Can You Tell if Your Gut Isn't Healthy?
Bloating after meals Heartburn or acid reflux Frequent constipation and or diarrhea Mood disorders Any skin condition (psoriasis, eczema, acne) Frequent colds and infections Allergies Autoimmune disease IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
When considering the health of our gut, there are many factors to consider. What we eat has a direct impact since what we eat, our microbes also eat. Research suggests that adverse changes in the gut microbiota due to unhealthy lifestyle factors and inadequate nutrition contribute to a broad spectrum of diseases: diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular disease, severe depression and anxiety. Supporting your gut microbiome's health through a thoughtful and nutrient-dense diet is a great place to begin.
Remove highly processed foods like industrial seed oils, refined flours and limit sugar and alcohol.
Add in gut-healing foods like bone broth, fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, natto and kefir.
Get adequate soluble fibre from whole-food sources (see Top 10 Grain-Free, Low-Carb, High-Fiber Foods).
Suppose you are experiencing gut-related health issues that feel uncomfortable or concerning. It is best to seek a licensed and credentialed health practitioner for proper testing and support. To book an appointment with Cait Mizzi, click here.
Written by Cait Mizzi for Unbun Foods