The gut (intestine) is said to be the largest immune system of the body. There is a complex community of microorganisms surviving in the gut, known as the gut flora. The human gut flora has the highest quantity of bacteria and other species of beneficial microorganisms, as compared to any other area of the human body. These bacteria help in digestion, absorption of various vitamins and minerals, and in hormone regulation.
What happens if gut health is compromised?
The food choices we make has a large impact on the health of our gut. Dysregulation of gut flora can lead to various inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. This imbalance can also destroy the mucus (lining of the gut) leading to a leaky gut. Abdominal pain, bloating, headache, fatigue, pain in joints etc., are also some of the symptoms of poor gut health.
Want to get over food intolerance? Read- Getting Over Food Intolerance
Impact of gut health on overall physical and mental health:
The types of food that our gut processes can also have a great impact on our mental health. Our gut manufactures more neurotransmitters than the brain. More than 80% of serotonin (contributor of feelings of well-being and happiness) is produced is gut. Therefore, a happy brain is undoubtedly a sign of a healthy gut.
So, how do we maintain a healthy gut?
Here are some of the main ways in which you can ensure that your gut flora are thriving:
- Reduce the consumption of processed and refined carbs, alcohol, and large dosages of caffeine.
- Include a good amount of fibre in your diet. Fiber, truly, is a miracle worker. Not only does it curb hunger pangs, and promote gut health, it is also known to be the single most potent tool against bowel issues, especially Constipation. To know more about the benefits of fiber, take a look at the detailed Fitmag article “I’m Constipated!”
- Eat foods containing probiotics such as yoghurt, dark chocolate etc.
- Prebiotic plant fibre also nourishes good bacteria in the gut. Raw chicory root, raw garlic, raw asparagus, onions etc. are good sources of prebiotic fibre.
- Eat green veggies such as spinach, broccoli, kale etc. Their alkaline nature helps in maintaining the pH of the gut.
- Raw apple cider vinegar is one of the best things you can add to your diet to boost your gut health. Apple Cider Vinegar has multiple health benefits, which you can read up here: “Apple Cider Vinegar – All You Need to Know”
- And finally, good sleep is also necessary to reduce the stress levels of the body, which in turn will improve the digestion.
If you want to know more about the importance of sleep, and sleep related disorders, read the informative Fitmag article “The Importance of Sleep”
The digestive system isn’t just a sidekick to provide energy to your body. How this system functions can actually make or break how your entire body functions! Dieting and mindful eating helps in regulating your digestive system as much as it aids in other fitness goals like weight loss. And by taking care of your gut health, you will ultimately have greater sense of physical and mental well-being.
Therefore, heal your gut to heal your health!
Article Credits – Akshita Arora