The gut is incredibly complex and has a huge impact on our overall health and wellbeing. There are numerous studies which have shown the links between gut health and our immune systems, mental health, mood and even cancer.
At one time, our gut was considered a relatively straightforward part of our body and essentially just a long tube for food to be passed through, but we now know that this isn’t true. When you have an unhealthy gut, it is extremely unpleasant and debilitating, so knowing the signs of a gut which isn’t healthy is vital, as is knowing how you can improve your gut health.
Unintentional Weight Changes
Losing or gaining weight without purposefully making and changes to your exercise habits or diet may be a sign of an unhealthy gut. An imbalanced gut can greatly impair your body’s natural ability to absorb nutrients, store fat and regulate blood sugar. Weight loss can often be caused by small intestine bacterial overgrowth, whereas weight gain may be caused by insulin resistance or an urge to overeat, which comes from decreased absorption of nutrients.
High Sugar Diet
If your diet is high in processed food and added sugar, then this can decrease the amount of good bacteria which is in your gut. This imbalance can cause sugar cravings to increase and can damage your gut even further. High amounts of refined sugar in your diet, particularly high-fructose corn syrup, have previously been linked to increased inflammation within the body.
Eczema and other skin conditions may have a relation to a damaged gut or poor gut health. If there is irritation in the guy, caused by food allergies or a poor diet, then this may cause an increase in certain products leaking out into the body, which may then irritate the skin, worsening conditions.
Sleep Disturbances Or Fatigue
An unhealthy gut may lead to sleep disturbances, such as poor sleep quality or even insomnia, which then leads to chronic fatigue. Most of our body’s levels of serotonin, which is a hormone that affects sleep and mood, is produced within the gut, so if you have poor gut health and issues, then your sleep and mood will naturally suffer.
If you regularly experience stomach upsets and disturbances, such as bloating, heartburn and sickness, then these are signs of an unhealthy gut and that there may be something wrong. A balanced gut is likely to have less difficulty eliminating waste and processing food.
Improving Gut Health
If any of the symptoms above sound familiar, then there are some things you can do to protect your gut health. Our gut is directly linked to our brain, therefore is affected by our mood and stress levels, so try to lower your stress levels if you can. Taking long walks after dinner, yoga and even laughing are all known to be stress-releasing.
You may also want to consider taking probiotics or digestive health supplements as part of your daily diet and routine. Prebiotics provide the “food” which is needed to promote the growth of good bacteria within the gut, whilst probiotics contain live good bacteria. Drinking plenty of water is also known to have a beneficial effect on the lining of the intestine, which then has an impact on your gut and bacteria within the gut.