The gastrointestinal tract (gut) is highly involved in the function of the immune system. It’s responsible for approximately 70% of our immune system’s activity. Not only that, but good gut health can help improve the health of the brain. It has been known that the connection between the gut and the brain is so notable that the gut has been nicknamed The Second Brain. A healthy gut is essential for good health, as it can help prevent various diseases and improve the mood of people. It can also improve the quality of sleep. The benefits are endless!
Unfortunately, a healthy gut is not promised to us. With the increase in stress and fast foods and a decrease in physical activity, many people are experiencing the symptoms of an unhealthy gut – perhaps without even knowing it!
So, what are the symptoms to look for that indicate an unhealthy gut?
● Weight fluctuations
● Sleep issues
● Skin irritation / acne
● Autoimmune conditions
● Mood disorders
● Brain fog
● Sugar cravings
● Food sensitivities
● Joint pain
● Bad breath
Experiencing some of the above? Not all is lost! There are steps that we can take to heal our gut. Below we take a look at the 4 key steps to healing your gut that you can start implementing right now.
1. Start with your diet
Avoid sugar and processed foods and include plenty of high-fibre vegetables, healthy fats, and lean proteins in your diet. Focus on eating plenty of prebiotic foods such as mushrooms, chicory, asparagus, flaxseeds & Jerusalem artichoke. Prebiotics help feed the good bacteria in your gut so that it can multiply, thrive and dominate. Add in some fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, live yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut and kombucha that can help bring your gut microbiome back into balance by directly supporting your gut with good bacteria. Be careful with fermented foods if you are taking immunosuppressant medication or if you have a histamine intolerance.
2. Move your body regularly
Daily exercise is important for your gut health as aerobic exercise can increase the amount of bacteria in your digestive tract and contribute to overall bacterial diversity.
3. Identify and eliminate your specific food “triggers”
If you keep eating food that you’re sensitive to, it can lead to immune reactivity and contributes to gut imbalance.
4. Manage your stress
Too much stress can lead to immune reactions that contribute to gut imbalance. Don’t forget that stress comes in different forms – physical, emotional, and environmental.