Increasing research in the medical community points to the gut as our system that has the ability to make or break our health. Countless studies over the past decade have linked gut health to the immune system, mental health, endocrine disorders, autoimmune conditions, skin conditions, and even cancer. When considering the significant job that the digestive system has absorbing and assimilating nutrients for use throughout the body while at the same time eliminating and protecting the body from free radicals and toxins, it’s a wonder that we don’t manifest more diseases in our increasingly toxic world of processed foods and chemical additives.
“Your microbiome is a term used to describe literally hundreds of different kinds of bacteria and other microorganisms living in your digestive at any given time”
Don’t worry; most of these organisms are supposed to be there, and they have a function. Having a healthy balance of good bacteria in your gut can help improve the function of your immune system, elevate your mood, and even help combat obesity and other diseases.
Toxic world, toxic bodies
In our world of processed foods, constant stimulation and stress, and pollutants in the air and water that we ingest, it can be incredibly difficult to manage the health of our gut microbiome. How can we tell if it is healthy and functioning? What can we do to improve gut health if we find that our health is compromised? With research pointing to many of our health issues directly linked to the health of our microbiome, it is essential that we learn to recognise signs and symptoms of disorder and work to correct them. Here are some things we need to look for to determine if your gut is at risk for compromising your health and wellness:
Sign #1: Upset Stomach
Common stomach issues like constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea and heartburn can all be linked to a damaged microbiome. A balanced body will have less issues processing food and eliminating waste material.
Sign #2: Too Much Sugar In The Diet
Sugar is a silent killer. For years its effect go undetected, and then one day it seems that symptoms come from out of nowhere, robbing you of your health and vitality. Processed foods and sugars decrease the amount of good bacteria in your digestive system; these imbalances cause even more sugar cravings, and a vicious cycle is now formed that is difficult for most people to break.
Sign #3: Weight Changes
Gaining or losing weight without making changes to your diet or workout routine is a sign of gastrointestinal distress. Your imbalanced gut is unable to process food and nutrients efficiently; as a result your body either holds on to food as a measure of self protection, or it does not know how to process the food you consume, resulting in weight loss. No matter what the outcome, it becomes necessary to look at these changes as a distress signal by your body that your digestive health should be improved.
Sign #4: Sleep Disturbances, Fatigue
An unhealthy microbiome can lead to sleep disturbances and issues with melatonin, a natural sleep regulator produced by a healthy body. This lack of sleep contributes to chronic fatigue, which can over time damage other systems of the body that become overtaxed and over stressed. Chronic sleep disturbances have been linked to the formation of fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that makes even the simplest tasks very difficult to do.
Sign #5: Skin Conditions
Skin conditions like eczema are directly related to a damaged gut microbiome. Inflammation of the gut due to poor diet or allergies to foods can cause leaky gut syndrome, a condition that can irritate the skin and cause rashes, breakouts, and itchiness.
Sign #6: Autoimmune Disorders
Medical research continues to point to the gut as a major contributor to the health of our immune system. When our immune system is compromised due to a leaky gut, our total health and wellness are at risk for the development of chronic disease and autoimmune disorders, where the body’s own immune defences turn inward and begin to attack systems of the body. This is an incredibly dangerous condition, and repair and restoration of the gut are necessary to stop autoimmune disorders from becoming acute issues that require emergency intervention.
Sign #7: Food Intolerance
A food intolerance is the body’s inability to either recognise it as a source of nutrition, or an inability to use it properly to sustain itself. This will manifest as food allergies, pain in the stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and other signals of distress that need prompt attention. If your body is sending you these signals, it’s time to improve your digestive health.
What can I do to improve my digestive health?
Fortunately, the process of restoring the digestive microbiome does not involve thorough flushing or complicated protocols; simply follow these tips for restoring your digestive system to health once more:
- Lower stress levels
- Get adequate sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Reduce processed foods and incorporate more healthy whole foods into your diet
- Chew slowly and thoroughly when eating
- Stay well hydrated
- Take a probiotic or a prebiotic to balance gut flora
Following these tips will help to restore the wonder that is your digestive system.
For a more thorough investigation of how your gut could be compromising your health speak to one of the Living Valley naturopaths or book into any of our retreat programs. Contact us today to see how we can help.
You can also take a look at our range of naturopathically designed health products, including our special Breakfast Boost
You can also try this quick and easy sauerkraut recipe from our website.
Here’s to your vibrant health and if you have any questions or would like to comment please feel free to do so in the section below.