words Al Woods
When you hear the word gut, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the bulge in your mid-section. Be that as it may, your gut and its impact on your health and wellness are more detailed. Your gut refers to your digestive system, including the intestines and stomach. Recent studies have confirmed that the gut is tied to everything from your immune system to mental health.
Why Gut Health Matters?
Why should you pay more attention to your gut health? Well, your gut is responsible for maintaining healthy bacteria, fighting off harmful bacteria, digesting and breaking down foods, absorbing nutrients, and preventing life-altering diseases. It also helps ensure that your brain, heart, immune system, hormones, skin, and weight remain balanced and properly functioning.
Signs Of Poor Gut Health
Now that you know how your gut contributes to your overall health and wellness, how do you know when something is wrong? There are a few signs to watch for, including gas, constipation, bloating, sugar cravings, sleep problems, skin issues, unintentional weight fluctuations, and food intolerances. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as there can be more severe consequences.
Ways To Improve Gut Health
Improving your gut health can essentially enhance your quality of life. Below is a look at some practical solutions to turn things around.
- Take Probiotics – Maintaining a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut isn’t easy. That’s why some people decide to take probiotics. These are live bacteria that are beneficial to your digestive system. While a general probiotic may suffice, a multi strain probiotic may be necessary if you’re dealing with significant gut issues.
- Fermented Foods – Along with probiotic supplements, adding more fermented foods to your diet can help improve gut health. The best sources are sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, sourdough bread, apple cider vinegar, and yogurt.
- Reduce Sugar Intake – Treating yourself to the occasional dessert or sugar-filled indulgence is fine, but too much sugar can result in poor gut health. Pay attention to the foods you eat to ensure they don’t contain too much refined or artificial sugar. Instead, switch to natural sweeteners like agave, raw honey, or stevia.
- Manage Stress – They don’t call stress the silent killer for nothing. When you’re emotionally overwhelmed, it can cause issues with your gut health. Learn how to keep stress under control by meditating, exercising, relaxing, and getting a massage.
- Take Antibiotics Responsibly – Doctors prescribe antibiotics to help patients fight off infections and diseases. While they are effective, they can also eliminate healthy gut bacteria. Therefore, you should take antibiotics responsibly. Long-term or abuse of antibiotics can cause serious problems. So, stay in touch with your doctor and stop the medication as soon as possible. You should also ensure to take a probiotic supplement and increase your intake of fermented foods while taking your prescriptions.
- Quit Smoking – Smoking cigarettes, cigars, and even vapes can alter your gut’s condition causing imbalances that lead to serious health problems. If you’ve developed this bad habit over the years, it’s time to quit. You can go cold turkey or ask your doctor about resources like patches, pills, and gum to quit smoking for good.
- Get Some Rest – Missing a night or two of sleep may not seem like much, but if sleep deprivation is common, it could impact your gut health. Ensure that you’re getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Create a sleep schedule, unwind before bed, and improve your sleep environment (bedroom) if necessary.
After reading this article, chances are you have a whole new outlook on what the gut is and how it contributes to your health and wellness. If you want to improve existing medical problems or enhance your well-being, pay attention to your gut. If you recognize signs of trouble, use the above solutions to get things under control. If the problems persist, reach out to a doctor or specialist immediately for further treatments and recommendations.