Doctors used to think of the digestive system as a simple one, but as research progressed in previous decades, it became clear that the digestive system had to be taken more seriously. About three decades ago, gut health did not get much attention in medical circles, but in recent years, there has been a change in attitude. Now, the issue is being discussed more openly and researched more intensively.
What Is Gut Health?
A person’s digestive tract and intestines play host to a number of microorganisms. While quite a number of them are “good” and bring the body several benefits, some are counterproductive more than anything. The “bad” bacteria is starting to be linked by scientists to a number of diseases and conditions, including (but not limited to):
- Autoimmune conditions
- Endocrine disorders
- Mental health disorders
- Mood disorders
According to several studies, a healthy gut will heavily benefit immune system function alongside offering considerable mood improvement. Here are some of the biggest symptoms of an unhealthy gut:
A Gut Is Unhealthy If A Person Develops Autoimmune Conditions
More recent studies have suggested that a gut in disarray is linked to the development of autoimmune conditions. Put simply, this is when the body gets into a state of confusion and attacks itself. Unhealthy gut bacteria are often referred to as the culprit behind Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
A Gut Is Unhealthy If A Person Has Stomach Pain and/or an Upset Stomach
An upset stomach from time to time is not out of the ordinary at all. We all experience gas from time to time, and most of us experience the cramps that accompany menstruation. Some of us even have a virus for which our bodies will attempt to fight off with diarrhea.
Stomach upset that just won’t go away and similar nagging concerns are likely the doing of an unhealthy gut. This includes bloating, diarrhea, heartburn, constipation and even gas. On the other hand, pain tends to come through because of food digestion issues and problems with eliminating waste.
A Gut Is Unhealthy If A Person Is Fatigued At All Times
If a person is feeling tired all the time, there’s a high chance that the culprit is problematic gut health. The brain sends signals through the body, and people don’t realize how interconnected these signals are. Gut trouble can affect sleep, which leaves a person feeling exhausted and fatigued.
Ways To Improve Gut Health
A good starting point for bettering gut health is to eat the right foods. Key things to do for this involve the following:
- Avoid artificial sweeteners – High-sugar diets should be avoided, but artificial sweeteners are not the alternative/go-to.
- Eat fermented food – These are high in lactobacilli, which keeps gut health well. Examples include kombucha, tempeh, yogurt, sauerkraut, kefir, and more.
- Have a diet that’s diverse – Make sure it’s fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and beans. They’re all high in fiber, which helps Bifidobacteria or the “good” gut bacteria along in terms of growth.
- Select whole grains when able – Gut flora will benefit greatly from whole grains. They promote growth of Bacteroidetes, lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria.
Gut health has become more of a conversation over the recent years. Signs of an unhealthy gut include consistent fatigue and autoimmune conditions. Ways to improve gut health are all rooted in food, such as having a diverse diet and avoiding artificial sweeteners.
Wondering if you need a gut health test? Reach out to Balanced Body Functional Medicine today! We help to restore your health so you can be the best version of yourself.