You’ve probably heard the term “gut health” and know that “good” gut health is important. But what does it really mean to have a healthy gut? What does the term “gut” refer to anyways?
Your gut is when people ask you how you knew something and you shrug saying it’s a “gut feeling”, it also refers to the digestive system as a whole, or to the stomach specifically. Having a healthy gut means having the right balance of tiny bacteria and other microbes in your digestive tract and stomach (microbiome) which leads to stronger immune system, better mood, more productivity, healthier heart and mind, and minimal discomfort after food.
The digestive system plays a major role in our overall health, and it consists of the gastrointestinal tract, pancreas, liver and gallbladder. It is responsible for breaking down everything you eat into smaller simpler compounds (macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and protein, and micronutrients: vitamins and minerals) that your body then absorbed into the bloodstream. They are then used as sources of energy, cell repair and function.
The interesting thing about our gut (and our body), is the huge number of bacteria, fungi and viruses living peacefully on and inside us, especially in our small intestine and colon. They are known as the gut microbiome. They weigh 2kg and are bigger than the human brain.
Any imbalances in the gut microbiome (read more here) or in the digestive process leads to digestive problems such as: abdominal cramps, bloating, flatulence, heartburn, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, which everyone experiences occasionally and is completely natural. However, if these symptoms occur frequently, they can interfere with our everyday life and become frustrating. More importantly, these symptoms are signs that should not be ignored because our body can’t benefit from the food we eat if it’s not digested and absorbed correctly.
The first step if you have any persisting pre-mentioned symptoms is checking up with a health professional to ensure that there are no underlying medical issues such as:
Meanwhile, you can start having a healthy gut and better digestion through these 7 diet and lifestyle simple tips at home and naturally: