The Good Gut Feeling Digest: The Basics of Gut Health.
If you’re new to the world of gut health, you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed with all the jargon surrounding it. That’s why we’re on a mission to help you get a good gut feeling. Hopefully at the end things like ‘Microbiome’ or ‘Glycaemic Index’ will sound less like science fiction characters and more meaningful! First thing first though, let’s take a look at the fundamentals of why gut health is so important and what you need to know as a newbie.
What’s the Big Deal?
As you’re probably aware, your gut refers to what your GP might refer to as your gastrointestinal tract, or digestive system. It’s basically a group of organs – the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon, and rectum. Everything we eat and drink passes through this part of our body, so gut health depends a lot on our diet. Your gut is full of bacteria. Trillions of the stuff actually, and keeping this bacteria in balance is what gut health is all about. Gut health starts with digestion, although that’s definitely not where it ends. Our gut is thought to be linked to other various parts of the body like your skin, weight, heart health, energy levels and even your mental health – a quick google will show you that the evidence for these links is mounting.
How Does the Gut Work?
We probably don’t need to explain that your gut is where all those nutrients vital to our health are absorbed. The lining of our gut is made up of material that allows tiny particles of these nutrients to pass through it and be absorbed into the body. Ideally, all our food is healthy and chewed thoroughly, meaning that the gut’s job is made easy and our bodies are kept in peak condition. Of course, this isn’t terribly realistic given how busy most people's lives are these days. Sugary, fatty foods that somehow always seem more convenient to cook. Irritants like alcohol, smoking, medications, antibiotics and even stress. These are just a few factors that can have a detrimental effect on our gut health (and often more serious knock-on effects).
How Do I Know How Healthy My Gut Is?
IBS, IBD, coeliac, leaky gut… the list of medical terminology for gut health issues goes on. The important thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily have to have an official diagnosis with a name to have room for improvement in terms of your gut health. Everyone’s different and symptoms of a digestive tract issue can vary from person to person, and the list is long; bloating, wind, diarrhoea, sugar cravings, bad breath, sensitivity to certain foods, anxiety or low mood, skin problems, low immunity and more. While these symptoms can often be a warning sign of poor gut health, they’re obviously not exclusive to this area of the body and medical advice should always be sought from a professional before you take action.
So that’s the basics of gut health covered. It’s a pretty big topic, so stay tuned to our social channels (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram) because there’s loads more to come from us and our team of nutritional experts on getting that good gut feeling. We’ll touch on gut health in the family, myth busting, free from diets and even fitness too!