Happy Gut, Happy Life

Why gut talk?

Your gut may be the reason why you haven’t been able to lose weight after months and months of trying your best, why you are constantly feeling bloated and uncomfortable or even why you feel fatigued all the time! It is pretty crazy that the gut has so much control over our bodies, but that’s why it’s often called the second brain!

In the science world there is something called the “gut-brain connection” for a reason. Scientists like to call the “little brain” in your gut the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). The ENS is filled with millions of nerves within your digestional tract that get messages from the brain, and they give them right back. The recent research done on the ENS has helped thousands of people with Irritable Bowel Syndromes (IBS), digestive issues, and overall response to food. Below are some reasons why you may be having issues with your gut!

You may need more prebiotics and probiotics

Sometimes, your gut gets a little tired of putting up with everyday life. The bacteria in your body outnumber your body’s cells 10 to one. Most of these bacteria reside in your gut, so it’s no wonder why your entire body could feel like a hot mess when your gut isn’t in check! Having the right gut bacteria is even linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, enhanced immune function, healthier skin and a reduced risk of many diseases.

Prebiotics are the cherry on top for good gut prep. Researchers have found that prebiotics are helpful in increasing the good bacteria already in the gut that reduce disease risk and improve general well-being. Prebiotics can be found in food sources like artichokes, onions, bananas and chicory root.

Probiotics are a certain type of friendly bacteria that provide health benefits when eaten (like the many listed above). Probiotics can be naturally found in food sources like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir as well as a variety of supplementation options. Both probiotics and prebiotic intake are the perfect combo for healthy gut prep.

You may have a food intolerance

A food intolerance, or a food sensitivity occurs when a person has difficulty digesting a particular food. This can lead to symptoms such as digestion issues, gut discomfort, holding onto weight, etc. Food intolerances are very different from food allergies though. Allergies involve the immune system while intolerance involve the digestive system.

Common food intolerances include; gluten, sugar, soy, dairy and processed foods. But they can range far and wide depending on the person!

You may not be getting enough micronutrients

Vitamins and nutrients are very important for not only overall health, but digestion and absorption of nutrients. Micronutrients are nutrients needed in smaller amounts to meet the body’s daily needs. For comparison, macronutrients are needed in larger amounts because “macro” is a larger scale! Optimal functioning of the cells not only the digestive system but also those of the immune system, the hormonal (endocrine) system, the circulatory system, and the nervous system are required to ensure that food is properly broken down and absorbed. A constant supply of essential micronutrients is critical for the functioning of all these cells. Poor dietary habits, diseases, pharmaceutical drugs and stress affect the functioning of the digestive system as they further contribute to a deficiency of micronutrients.

Sources:

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/healthy_aging/healthy_body/the-brain-gut-connection

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/micronutrients-have-major-impact-on-health

Florowska A, K Krygier, T Florowski, and E Dłużewska. 2016. “Prebiotics as functional food ingredients preventing diet-related diseases.” Food & function 7(5):2147-55.

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