It took a very long time for science to prove that gut health was linked to the brain, however, many of us had come to that conclusion long ago! Sleep, anxiety, happiness, and weight can all be affected by what’s happening in the intestinal tract. Not only that, science is now linking gut health to chronic illness, immune disorders, and nervous system disorders. What your gut tells your body could be one of the most important messages. Are you listening? Instead of ignoring the signs and symptoms, treat your body as your guide to better mental and physical health.
“There are studies showing that what we eat can alter the composition and products of the gut flora — in particular, that people with high-vegetable, fiber-based diets have a different composition of their microbiota, or gut environment, than people who eat the more typical Western diet that is high in fat and carbohydrates,” Mayer said. “Now we know that this has an effect not only on the metabolism but also affects brain function (source).”
5 Thing That Could Be Destroying Your Gut Health
Taking nonsteroidal drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil, aspirin, and Motrin on a regular basis damage the gut lining, allowing microbes, partially digested food particles, and toxins to enter the bloodstream. (This is known as “leaky gut.”)
While occasional use won’t cause the same damage, if you are suffering from chronic issues leaky gut could be the culprit. Taking more pills on top of this could be creating a horrible inflammatory cycle that won’t end until the gut heals.
If you want a quick way to tax your system, alcohol is it! It contains large amounts of empty calories and delivers very few nutrients to the body. On the flip side, it devours many nutrients in the process. When you look at it this way, you see that the term “empty” calories takes on a whole new meaning, leaving your body depleted instead of nourished.
Drinking eats up vitamin B. The body can decide to metabolize alcohol or store the toxins in the liver. Drinking large amounts of alcohol or drinking alcohol on a consistent basis strains the liver, which affects digestion, which can damage the intestinal tract.
3.) Lack of Sleep
We’ve all heard that sleep is a pivotal part of good health, but have you ever thought it could be destroying your gut? Lack of sleep leads to higher cortisol levels. Cortisol is seen as stress in the body which can cause havoc in the intestines. Leaky gut has also been linked to high cortisol.
Sleeping any less than 7 to 8 hours a night deprives the body of the “parasympathetic/relaxation sleep cycle which helps the body repair high energy gut tissue (source).”
Think back to a recent time in your life when you were under extreme amounts of stress. Now think about how your body was reacting. In many cases you can link stress to things such as stomach pain, poor digestion, acid reflux, bloating, and gas. Stress is just as detrimental to the body as many toxins. Chronic stress decreases the amount of IgA secreted. IgA is one of the key components in the immune system and is the first to respond when the body needs help. DHEA is also slowed. This hormone is known as the “anti-aging” hormone, it supports the adrenals and helps with reducing stress.
If you can think back to a time where you were on continuous rounds of antibiotics, chances are, your gut health was severely damaged. Since antibiotics kill all bacteria (both good and bad), it leaves the body depleted. If you aren’t aware of this process and you don’t get enough good bacteria back into your system, it could lead to a significant imbalance in the body, in the gut, and holes in your immune system. Avoiding unnecessary use of antibiotics is a must. If you have to take them, make sure you use a good quality probiotic to replenish your system after you’ve completed your round.
With evolving science and research, it’s evident that gut health is everything! Treat it well and respect the good bacteria that fight to keep you healthy, sane, and happy!