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  • Deanne Pandey

How can you avoid a bad gut?!

The incredible complexity of the gut and its importance to our overall health has been covered in our previous blogs but it cannot be stressed enough. It’s been said that the gut is the body’s second brain and when you have an unhealthy gut, it can affect your entire body. Your gastrointestinal tract starts with your mouth and ends with the anus. Its job is to take in food, digest it, absorb nutrients, and expel the remaining waste. Your gut is home to trillions of bacteria along with yeast and viruses that live among this bacteria. Collectively, these microorganisms are called your gut microbiota. Their collective genes make up the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome contains a mix of good and bad bacteria that helps achieve many important roles in our body: protects against dangerous bacteria, regulates metabolism, aids in digestion, creates vitamins, manages hormone levels, and disposes of toxins. Having a wide variety of these good bacteria in your gut can enhance your immune system function, improve symptoms of depression, help combat obesity, and provide numerous other benefits. Many facets of modern life such as high stress levels, too little sleep, eating processed and high-sugar foods, and taking antibiotics can all damage our gut microbiome. This in turn may affect other aspects of our health, such as the brain, heart, immune system, skin, weight, hormone levels, ability to absorb nutrients, and even the development of cancer. Thus, it is very important to look after your gut health and keep a track of what goes into your gut.

Here are some signs of bad gut health that you can look out for-

1. Sleep Disturbance

If you are not getting a good night's sleep, wake up feeling unrefreshed, or struggle with nighttime awakenings, this could signal gut problems. Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep can have serious impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues. Try to prioritize getting at least 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Eat more fiber in your diet, consume more foodstuff that contains probiotics, get regular exercise, avoid alcohol, and avoid fatty or sugary foods.

2. Upset Stomach

If your stomach is frequently upset by symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and abdominal pain, these can be signs of irritable bowel syndrome, a common condition that affects the large intestines. This could be a sign that you might have an intolerance. Too many people ignore the signs from their own body that something isn't sitting right. If you always get bloated or gassy after eating a meal, try to find the common denominator in those meals, and cut it out for a solid two weeks. Some common ones are gluten, dairy, and soy.

3. Constant Fatigue

The gut is in constant communication with our brain and the microbiome plays a vital role in your mental health and the way you respond to stress.

4. Skin problems

Some symptoms of an unhealthy gut are also visible on your skin. An unbalanced microbiome increases your skin's sensitivity making it more prone to issues like eczema, dermatitis, acne, and psoriasis. Your skin also has a unique microbiome of its own, and the bacteria in your gut influence the balance of bacteria on your skin. An imbalance in your gut can cause an imbalance in your skin and a variety of skin health needs depending on the individual.

5. Poor Mood

Food affects how you feel, which manifests in your mood. While mood disorders are not solely regulated by gut health, it is definitely a factor! If you are dealing with new swings in mood or increased anxiety, you may want to tune into your diet and lifestyle and how it may be affecting you at a deeper level.

6. Weak Immunity

The gut microbiome plays a role in bolstering your immunity. A poor immune response may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. In fact, approximately 70% of the immune system resides in your gut. When the gut is imbalanced, this can affect immune function and health.

A high-sugar diet, irregular food habits, late-night cravings and inadequate water are all factors leading to a bad gut. Consume fiber, fruits, and vegetables that promote microbiota diversity.

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