Gut Health

Our body is a wonderful machine. Food is our fuel. The Gut is the engine that converts this fuel into power, energy and gets us going- breathing, running, thriving!

What is Gut?

The Gut is the colloquial name for the intestines, sometimes also for the stomach or the digestive system in general. In this article by Gut, we refer to the gastrointestinal system as a whole – the long tube starting from the mouth and ending at the anus.

What Does a Healthy Gut Do?

Whatever food we eat moves through the gastrointestinal system and breaks down into several forms throughout its journey. Ultimately, it reaches a useful and graspable form to our body, and at that stage, it is let out into the bloodstream.

This breaking down of food is brought about by bodily fluids and microbiomes – the microorganisms living in the guts. Humans have about 300 to 500 species of bacteria thriving in Gut.

These bacteria maintain the ecosystem of the Gut that converts food into nutrients. A healthy gut is not just about breaking down food. Research has shown a link between gut health and immune system, endocrine system, mental health, and Cancer. These bacteria are good. When they flourish, they overpower the disease-causing bad bacteria and support health.

How Do I Know That My Gut Is Not Working Well?

An unhealthy gut manifests in symptoms beyond the Gut itself; listen to your body. For example, a regular bowel movement once or twice a day that makes you feel light indicates a good gut.

Some symptoms tell us that our Gut is not working well. Let’s know them-

  • Indigestion – bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation, diarrhoea
  • Sweet craving- Unhealthy processes foods disturb gut flora (the number of good bacteria). In addition, refined sugar causes inflammation, and chronic inflammation can be a precursor to many diseases, including Cancer.
  • Fatigue- Low energy levels despite eating well.
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Mood – gut health has a definite effect on the brain. For example, an unhealthy gut causes anxiety and depression.
  • Skin problems- acne, eczema, skin allergies.
  • Food allergies and respiratory allergies.
  • Other disorders like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Weight changes without any reason

If you have any of the above symptoms, see your doctor and focus on a healthy diet for gut health.

How to maintain Gut Health?

  • Probiotic foods

We want the good bacteria to thrive and flourish. To do this, our diet must have probiotic foods. Probiotic foods are foods with live bacteria that restore gut health—examples: Fermented foods like dosa, idli, curd, buttermilk, kefir sourdough bread.

  • Prebiotics foods

Prebiotics are dietary fibres that microbiomes feed upon. In the presence of such foods, the bacteria multiply, and the healthy gut ecosystem is maintained.

Examples of prebiotic foods- apples, onions, mushrooms, barley, garlic, legumes, carrots.

  • Be Active

The good Gut is not just about what you eat but also about how active you are. A person with an active lifestyle is more likely to have assorted microbiomes to maintain the Gut than a person who has a sedentary lifestyle.

One does not need to be as active as a sportsperson. Just dedicate a few minutes daily, as low as 20 minutes, if not more, to some physical activity.

Eat the right food, be active- have a healthy gut – it is as simple as this!

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