Your stomach is in charge of a lot more than just letting you know that you’re hungry. Did you know that deep in your gut, there are approximately 40 trillion bacteria? These 40 trillion bacteria are good bacteria, and when they’re happy, your whole body is happy. That’s why it’s so important to get to know your gut. What’s inside of it, how it works, and how it’s affecting your entire existence.
Here’s what you need to know.
Gut Health 101: Why Your Relationship With Your Stomach is More Important Than You Think
When we say “relationship with your stomach” you might be thinking about weight, or weight loss. In this case, that’s not at all what we mean. Your relationship with your stomach has to do with what you feed it - and ultimately how you feel as a whole. Someone who looks like they’re in great shape might still be lacking when it comes to their gut health.
Your gut is incredible - but it needs to be taken care of properly in order for you to enjoy whole health. But before we get into that, here are some facts about what’s going on behind your waistband:
Those 40 trillion bacteria in your gut and digestive tract are hard at work.
They are helping you:
Digest your meals
Make essential nutrients you can’t produce on your own
Fight against disease
They are even helping to decide what parts of your DNA manifest, and what parts remain dormant. Crazy, right?
Your gut bacteria can play a huge role in what your quality of life looks like.
So, here’s why you need to know about (and take care of) the bacteria in your gut. Your gut bacteria can play a key role in deciding your appetite, allergies, metabolism, and neurological function.
In fact, scientists have found that gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, all of which play a key role in determining your mood.
Some studies even suggest that your gut health could play a part in your risk for developing the following:
Neuropsychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia
Chronic fatigue syndrome
That’s serious business. Science is basically telling us that eating poorly doesn’t just affect what size pants we wear - it could actually have an effect on other aspects of our health such as our allergies, mood, and risk for disease and disorders.
How to Promote Gut Health
Having good gut health can be boiled down to what you’re putting in your body at any given moment. Here are some simple tips for getting your gut bacteria back into shape:
Steer clear of unnecessary antibiotics (unless your doctor recommends them or you need them to stay alive). Antibiotics can kill your good gut bacteria.
Avoid a diet that’s high in sugar, unhealthy fat, and processed food. This type of diet will feed the bad bacteria in your gut.
Talk to your doctor or dietitian about adding probiotics and prebiotics into your diet. These feed the good bacteria and nurture your digestive tract so everything works as it should.
Eat lots of fiber. Consume fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains every day.
Avoid contact with toxins in plastics, nonstick cookware, skin care, make up, hair products, and more. Read labels and choose products that are free of nasty chemicals and known toxins.
Minimize caffeine and alcohol intake.
Get plenty of quality sleep (7-8 hours is generally best)
When your gut health is in check, your body works better and you feel better.
A happy gut is equal to a healthy human. You can become strong and healthy - but you have to do so by working from the inside out.
Our human bodies are magnificent, but they need us to take care of them and pay attention.
You often hear “you are what you eat” and based on what we know about gut health, that seems to be the case.
In fact, our nutritionist Dana Bosselmann often tells clients “you are what you absorb”. So, it all boils down to this: healthy eating is a lifestyle commitment that can be enjoyed over and over again. As you put good food in your body, your body will reap the benefits of a higher quality of life, every single day.
Have more questions about your gut health? Our board certified expert nutritionist Dana Bosselmann, MA, RDN, LMT, IFNCP, provides Nutritional Assessments at LifeScape for those looking to better understand their true diet and nutritional needs. Click to Book a Nutrition Consult Today!