Our gastrointestinal system is behind all of our digestion issues, but does the health of our GI tract have a greater impact on our body? Recent studies suggest that yes, our gut is responsible for the health of our body as a whole. And while we know the importance of a healthy diet, it is crucial to know how to eat for gut health. Each person is different, so it can be hard to know what type of diet is right for your specific body needs. If you want to feel your best, Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, Tennessee can help you get on track with gut health.
What Is Gut Health?
Our gut is not as simple as we once thought and does more than just digesting food. Studies have shown that it affects the health of our entire body, from our mental health to our mood, skin conditions, and even more serious physical conditions, such as cancer.
It makes sense that our gut’s microbiome, which consists of 300 to 500 different species of bacteria, can have such a large impact, and it has been proven that about 70% of our immunity resources lie in our gut. For these reasons, it is more important than ever to care about your gut as a way of caring for your overall wellbeing.
What Are Signs of Poor Gut Health?
Did you know that you probably have signs of poor gut health, even without realizing it? Many people do not realize that there is a flora imbalance in their gut, so they try other solutions for their health problems but never feel any better. If these signs seem to apply to you, we at Knox Wellness Experience can help to get your digestive tract in order and help you feel healthy again:
Does it ever seem like no matter how many cups of coffee you drink, you just can’t seem to perk up in the day? Are you feeling groggy and tired throughout your day, making it hard to be productive at work and at home?
The gut is responsible for most of your body’s serotonin production, which is the hormone linked to both your mood and sleep. If your gut is unhealthy, you may not be producing enough serotonin, which can then lead to sleep disorders like insomnia. These sleep disturbances caused by an imbalanced gut can lead to feeling sluggish and fatigued all the time.
Bloating and Feeling Uncomfortable
While some foods, especially those high in fiber, are known to cause temporary bloating, you should not be feeling bloated and uncomfortable after every meal you consume.
If you are noticing that your stomach always seems to be bloated, you probably have imbalances in your gut flora that are making you unable to properly digest your food. Bloating can be a nuisance that is not only unattractive, but even painful. Constant bloating, regardless of what you are eating, is a hallmark sign that your gut is not balanced and needs more or less of certain bacteria.
Weak Immune System
Do you seem to get sick at the drop of a hat? If you follow a standard Western diet full of processed foods and refined sugars, you may start to notice autoimmune problems. When you eat a ton of sugar, you are damaging your gut health and reducing the amount of healthy bacteria that you should have in your gut.
Refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup can increase inflammation in your body, and when your body is inflamed, it may start to attack itself the way it would attack foreign bacteria in your body. This can lead to a wide variety of autoimmune diseases that can compromise your body’s health.
Though flatulence is a normal occurrence and byproduct of food digestion, if it is happening too frequently, it’s probably a sign that your gut health is imbalanced. If you are someone who takes medication to control your flatulence regularly, it may be time to look at what you are eating and the effect your diet is having on your gut.
When your gut is able to properly digest your food, flatulence should not be a side effect. In fact, if you are experiencing chronic gas, you may be producing too much of certain bacteria, and over time this can even lead to more serious conditions, such as colon cancer.
If you are finding that your stomach is often in pain and you are reaching for painkillers such as ibuprofen, the problem could really be an imbalance of bacteria in your gut. Cramps and stomach pain are abnormal and typically a sign that there is a deeper issue at work.
It can be hard to pinpoint which foods exactly are causing this pain, which is why seeing a professional who can test the bacteria levels in your intestines is important. Cramps that are unrelated to your menstrual cycle and seem to pop up often can be indicative of a gut problem that requires treatment.
Acid Reflux and Indigestion
While it’s true that the occasional acidic meal can leave you with a feeling of heartburn in your chest, you should not be experiencing acid reflux or heartburn regularly. If your body constantly feels like there is indigestion after your meals, it is a true sign that your gut is out of balance and unable to properly digest your food.
When the acid in your stomach is coming back up your esophagus, this will cause a burning feeling, and over time this can also cause damage to your esophageal lining. Bacterial overgrowth has been tied to acid reflux and can be the source behind the burning and discomfort.
Unintended Weight Changes
Our weight always fluctuates a little based on what we’ve been eating and how much we’ve been drinking water or exercising. But if you start to notice drastic unintentional changes in your weight, whether gaining or losing, your gut may be trying to tell you something.
When your gut is unable to properly extract nutrients and minerals from your food, you may start losing weight unexpectedly as a result of bacterial overgrowth. On the other hand, if you are unexpectedly gaining weight, this may be an imbalance due to insulin resistance and can even lead to type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do to Improve Your Gut Health?
Now that you know that your gut may be imbalanced, you are probably wondering what steps you can take to get your bacteria balanced again. While a number of factors go into gut health and there is no way to know exactly what you need without seeing a professional, there are certain precautions that are universal and can help everyone to maintain their overall health.
Below are some simple ways that you can start getting your gut bacteria in check in order to feel healthy and vibrant once more.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for all levels of health, and our gut is no exception to this rule. When you fail to get a proper amount of sleep each night, this can create an imbalance in gut bacteria which then reinforces the problem and makes it even harder to get enough sleep.
As mentioned before, serotonin and sleep are tied not just to your brain, but to your gut itself. Instead of compounding this issue, try to get a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Your gut won’t be the only part of your body that will thank you as a result.
Watch Your Stress Levels
We know that elevated stress levels can be tough on our brains and our hearts. But did you know that chronic stress levels can also cause an imbalance of bacteria in your gut? In order to maintain a manageable level of stress, try out different forms of relaxation.
Whether you try meditating, exercising, breathing, going to the spa, or simply taking time to be with your loved ones, reducing stress levels is critical to your overall wellbeing. Reducing stress can help you sleep better and digest your food better, which will make you feel happier and more energetic on a day-to-day basis.
Maintain Hydration Levels
“Drink plenty of water.” This piece of advice is often repeated but not often heeded. When you are dehydrated, your entire body suffers as a result, and your gut may not be able to digest your food the way that it needs to.
In fact, water helps to maintain the mucosal lining of your intestines so that they can digest food properly, and the proper amount of water in your system can help to maintain a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Increasing your water intake can also prevent you from feeling the discomfort of constipation and can boost your energy levels as well.
Check for Food Intolerances
Often times, people have food intolerances that are caused by an imbalance of gut bacteria, and yet they do not know it and keep consuming these irritating foods. Some of the most common culprits are gluten, dairy, caffeine, and fructose, among others.
It can be hard to know which foods your body does not tolerate without the help of a professional, but if you notice that certain foods seem to trigger indigestion or inflammation in your body, it is a good idea to cut them out of your diet.
Take a Probiotic or Prebiotic Supplement
Prebiotic supplements help your intestines to grow “good bacteria” in your gut, while probiotics are full of live bacteria themselves. Both of these types of supplements can help your gut to be more balanced and able to digest food properly, and they can even be found in common foods like yogurt or fermented foods.
However, some people who have bacterial overgrowth should not take probiotics, so before you start taking these supplements on your own, it’s a good idea to get a professional from Knox Wellness to evaluate the needs of your gut.
Now that you know the importance of gut health in preventing health issues such as sleep disorders, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, and even cancer, you will want to make sure that your gut bacteria is balanced and optimal for your body.
Each person is different, and at Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, Tennessee, our professionals can test for flora imbalances and any overgrowth of bacteria you may have. We will also recommend and discuss probiotics, enzymes, and microbials that can help to get your gut balanced. Contact us at Knox Wellness Experience in Knoxville, TN for a consultation so that you can finally feel your best!