A recent adverse reaction to a takeaway meal caused me to look closer into gut health and possible causes of gastro-intestinal upset.
Our bodies are made up of about 39 trillion bacteria that help to protect our bodies and keep us healthy. Most of these bacteria live in our gut and help to expel bad bacteria and break down fibre, as well as producing vitamins like B12 and K.
Sometimes our bodies’ balance can be disrupted by an increase in bad bacteria due to environmental factors such as pollution or lifestyle choices such as unhealthy foods.
Research suggests that as much as 70% of our immune health lies in our gut, which is why maintaining our gastrointestinal health is essential for overall wellness. However, our body’s gut bacteria is very delicate and can easily be disrupted.
When bad bacteria overtakes the good, our gut health and immune system become compromised. This makes us more prone to developing a number of health issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), urinary tract infections, colitis and high cholesterol to name a few.
The most popular and effective strains of good bacteria are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. (These can be ingested readily via probiotic products)
A disrupted balance of these bacterial strains can contribute to a range of disorders and diseases including obesity, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and can even affect our mental health. It is therefore very important to consider the impact of what you eat and the lifestyle you choose in order to safeguard longevity and prevent disease.
Highly refined and processed foods are not natural to our body and it’s not what we were designed to eat. Intense heat processes, additives and preservatives and chemicals strip away any beneficial nutritional content during manufacturing processes. A diet that consists predominantly of these types of foods will ultimately have a huge detrimental effect on health and how you feel day to day.
Research suggests there is no proven direct correlation between exercise and improved gut health, but because people who exercise regularly tend to eat more healthily, their gut health overall tends to be better and they suffer less with ill-health and chronic disease.
Studies have shown that exercise decreases inflammatory signals and promotes a more regulated gut environment as it can help improve the lining of the gut.
Age, genetics, body composition, medications, the presence of disease, dietary changes, and stress (such as sleep deprivation) are also factors that might impact the composition and function of the gut.