Hand on heart, I truly believe that when I healed my gut, I reversed my symptoms. Otherwise known as the second brain, research is starting to demonstrate just how much influence the gut has over many functions in the body and mind.
So let's take a deeper look.
The gastrointestinal tract is lined with microbes, including bacteria and fungi and is collectively known as the microbiome. The microbiome performs many important functions in the body, including making energy available from the food we eat, aiding the immune system, producing the feel good chemicals in the brain – serotonin, and disposing of foreign substances and toxins.
A mixture of good and bad bacteria coexist in the gut, and on occasion, typically when we are chronically stressed, eat a diet high in processed foods and sugar or have taken antibiotics, the bad bacteria can outnumber the good, leading to an imbalance. This can play a role in a number of chronic health conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis or depression.
Signs of gut imbalance
Upset stomach – diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, nausea and heartburn. Gastrointestinal discomfort, especially after eating a carbohydrate-rich meal, can be the result of poor digestion and absorption of carbs.
Food cravings – in particular sweets and sugar can be a sign of yeast overgrowth in your system. This can happen after a course of antibiotics where you wipe out all the good bacteria in your gut. The yeast feeds on sugar, which is why you crave sugary treats.
Weight gain – Insufficient microbial diversity can lead to obesity, diabetes and heart disease. New evidence suggests that gut bacteria may alter the way that fat is stored, the way hormones communicate that we’re full, and the way blood glucose levels are balanced.
Anxiety or low mood – approximately 85% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects mood, social behaviour, sleep, appetite, memory and libido, is produced in the gut. When less serotonin is produced, it has a negative impact on mood.
Poor sleep or insomnia – low levels of serotonin can lead to bouts of insomnia or difficulty with falling asleep.
Skin rashes or eczema – can develop when there is an imbalance in gut bacteria
But don't fret. There are many small changes that we can make in diet and lifestyle that can produce a significant improvement to your health.
5 things you can do today to improve your gut health
Eat or drink something fermented – try some sauerkraut or kimchi with your morning scrambled eggs and avocado, or try some kefir or kombucha.
Increase your daily intake of fresh vegetables, especially leafy greens and colour dense root veg. Eat as much diversity as possible and source organic.
Avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners.
Increase physical activity – studies show that a sedentary lifestyle is a high risk for chronic ill health.
Find ways to manage your stress on a daily basis – yoga, tai chi and meditation are all activities that nourish you whilst permitting the body to process and release stress.
Want more help? You can contact me for some 1:1 person-centred health coaching ❤️