Understanding Gut Health and Why it Matters
You’ve probably heard that gut health affects everything in your body. In fact, the term “gut health” might have popped up in your health class when you were younger or in one of those diet books you’ve seen in a bookstore. But what exactly do people know about their gut health? In this article, we’ll look into just how vital gut health is and what role it plays in your body.
What is Gut Health?
The gut is actually made up of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, and the large and small intestines. The gut is where many of your body’s reactions take place. It reacts to the food you eat, toxins in the environment, and even stress. Your body uses the gut to tell it if something is good or bad for it and also if something is safe or not safe.
The gut also plays a role in your immune system. When your gut is open to certain foods or toxins, then it could affect the rest of your body and cause your immune system to be affected.
The Gut and Digestive System
It’s been said that your gut is a second brain, and while it’s true that the brain and the gut are connected, they are very different. The gut and the brain are connected by the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body and actually has the ability to function independent of the brain. It’s this nerve that allows you to feel full, gives you feelings of butterflies in your stomach, and makes it so your lips and cheeks might feel tingly when you drink a cold soda.
But it’s not the brain that has all the say in your stomach. There are actually many, many different kinds of bacteria in your gut that give orders to your stomach and your immune system. These bacteria, known as gut flora, are different in everyone, and they definitely affect your digestion, your health, and your ability to fight off sickness.
What Factors Affect Gut Flora?
Your gut flora is mostly influenced by genetics. Your gut flora is similar to your fingerprint – no two people have the same gut flora.
Being born through the vaginal canal also affects your gut flora. Sometimes, if a baby is born through a c-section, they can come into contact with more of the mother’s germs instead of the bacteria that they would have normally had contact with during vaginal birth. This could potentially change the way that baby’s gut flora develops.
The food you eat also plays a huge role in your gut flora, and it’s important to know that it’s extremely hard to change your gut flora. There are many things that can change your gut flora for the better. Yogurt and kefir are known to help change your gut flora, and probiotic pills are also an excellent way to help boost your good gut bacteria.
The Importance of a Healthy Gut
As mentioned earlier, your gut is connected to your immune system and health. If your gut is healthy, then your immune system is healthy. A second way that your gut is connected to your health is through the hormones that are produced in your gut.
The gut is home to a number of different enzymes that are produced in the stomach and the intestines. These enzymes break down the food we eat, and they also produce hormones that help regulate appetite, mood, and a number of other things.
For example, serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced in your gut, and it is also the same neurotransmitter produced in the brain. This neurotransmitter is the reason you can feel happy after a good meal. When you have bad gut health, you are less able to produce this hormone, and you might find your mood to be more affected by your diet.
Understanding your gut health is extremely important. It’s linked to almost every part of your body, and it plays a huge role in how you feel and how healthy you are. Knowing this can help you take good care of your gut health and your entire body.
Unlock your body’s true potential with the help of an accomplished healthcare provider. Balanced Body Functional Medicine is here to provide personalized and integrative medicine to help you look good and feel good. Through balanced body nutrition and the help of Dr. Julia Ward, and her team, we can restore and enhance your health and well-being. Sign up today for a free seminar and be a part of Balanced Body Functional Medicine.