This entire article will be all about how to maintain good gut health. In this pandemic scenario maintaining the gut is very important and we all are focusing on different aspects such as maintaining immunity level, oxygen level, and various other factors but we are ignoring our gut health. As a result, this article is being put up to create awareness among people about maintaining your gut health.
In this blog, we will be talking about
- What is good gut health?
- Symptoms of unhealthy gut.
- How to maintain good gut health?
- What are the foods required to maintain good gut health?
So let’s begin,
Why a healthy gut is necessary?
Our digestive system consists of the stomach, the large intestine, and the small intestine where all the food we eat is digested, absorbed, and excreted from the body.
Our intestines have a variety of microorganisms weighing about 1.5kg. Our human body has 10 trillion human cells and 100 trillion microbial cells. So we have 10 times more microbial cells than human cells. And most of these microbial cells reside in our gut. This microbial population in our gut is known as gut microbiota.
This Gut Microbiota is also known as fingerprint since every person has a very specific gut microbiota that does not match with anybody else.
4 main functions of gut microbiota
The gut microbiota has several functions to perform in our body
- It controls the weight of our body
- It determines the mental health status
- It maintains the immune status in our body
- Determines if we have the chance of auto-immune disorders
5 Symptoms of Unhealthy gut
There are various symbols and signs if you have an unhealthy gut.
1. Frequent stomach discomfort
We often suffer from bloating and diarrhea, but as long as it is brief it should be fine.
If by any chance you realize frequent bloating, acidity, or diarrhea then you have unhealthy gut microbiota and gut inflammation, where the food cannot be processed efficiently.
Condition of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is another symptom of an unhealthy gut.
2. Sudden weight change
If you experience frequent weight fluctuations, that is you easily lose or gain weight without making any changes to your diet or lifestyle it could be a sign of an unhealthy gut. The gut will create problems with the absorption of nutrients in the body and bad regulation of blood sugar and body fat, which impacts the fluctuation of weight.
3. Excessive Sugar cravings
Sugar cravings are okay but excessive sugar cravings are not a good sign. Excessive sugar cravings often result from our body’s inability of the gut to absorb nutrients properly. This generally occurs due to the imbalance of microbes in the gut. For example, there could be a growth of too much yeast in the gut which results in excessive sugar cravings.
4. Skin problems
Skin problems like eczema, cirrhosis are a symptom of gut inflammation. This condition is also known as the Leaky gut, where undigested foods and toxins leak from the intestine to our blood. Many dieticians and nutritionists have been able to treat these allergies and skin conditions by treating the gut and restoring good gut health.
5. Mental health problems
Researches have established a connection between our gut microbiota and the CNS (Central Nervous System) and this bi-directional communication is known as the “Gut-Brain Axis”. This basically means that if something is wrong in our gut microbiota it can potentially reflect in the form of mental disorders like anxiety and depression.
6 proven ways to maintain good gut health
1. Include diversity in diet
There are hundreds of species of microorganisms in our gut. Each species plays a different role and has different nutrients required for its growth. So a diversity of foods are required.
- If you are a person who eats rice or chapatis try adding millets to your diet.
- Try including a variety of pulses and legumes.
- If you are a vegetarian include various types of diverse fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- The fruits and vegetables should be local and seasonal.
- Non-vegetarians are also recommended to take various types of fruits and vegetables.
A vegetarian diet helps maintain good gut health because of the presence of a high amount of fiber.
2. Probiotic foods
Probiotic foods are foods that have live bacteria in them and these foods are recommended for maintaining a healthy balance of microbes in our gut.
Don’t forget to take a look at the best probiotic foods in India.
Probiotic foods like curd, kanji, kimchi are produced by fermentation where these bacteria grow and multiply in the food. Not only probiotic foods have good live bacteria in them, but the process of fermentation also boosts certain nutrients in the foods like Folic acid and Vitamin B.
Probiotic foods should be made a part of our daily diet.
3. Prebiotic foods
Prebiotics are not similar to probiotics. Prebiotics do not contain any live bacteria, but they are foods that boost the growth of gut microbes. Prebiotics food are
- Complex carbohydrates
They cannot be digested by human cells but they serve as food for some varieties of microbes in our gut. These microbes ferment the prebiotics food and produce products like short-chain fatty acids that are required for maintaining good gut health and for promoting weight loss in our body.
Prebiotics are generally the foods that feed the gut microbes which ultimately help us in maintaining good health.
The most famous prebiotic food is banana. Banana has fiber inulin which acts as food for the beneficial microbes in our gut. Rice, Potatoes, Sago are also prebiotics. These foods have a starch called resistant starch which acts as food for the gut bacteria.
4. Reducing stress level
Stress can play a major role in degrading your gut health. The more you take stress and tension the more your gut health goes down.. Stress will kill the microorganisms in your intestine. So try to relax as much as possible.
Regular exercises, doing meditation, and eating a healthy diet will keep you stress-free.
5. Maintaining good sleep habits
Sound sleep is not only good for maintaining a healthy gut but also for living a healthy life. A study proved that no sleep or irregular sleep can increase the chances of gut inflammation. Sound sleep for 6-8 hours is necessary to maintain a healthy gut.
Don’t forget to read how to get a good sleep if you are experiencing problems with sleep.
6. Avoiding excess sugar in the diet
Eating lots of sugar causes gut dysbiosis, which disturbs the balance of gut microbes.
A study in 2015 proves that a diet that is high in fat and sugar can influence gut microbiota. So it is better to avoid excess sugar in your diet.
The importance of good gut health and its association with physical and mental health cannot be ignored. Many dieticians and nutritionists believe in healing the gut for healing the body. These tips will help you maintain great gut health.