5 Signs You Have An Unhealthy Gut And How To Get It Back On Track
Your gut is incredibly important, it’s the thing that runs from your oesophagus to your rectum and does much more than just process food. A healthy gut has the right balance of good and bad bacteria, along with a stomach that produces the right amount of acid to digest your food and a healthy liver and pancreas with the right amount of enzymes. But it’s relatively common to have a bad gut, often referred to as a 'leaky gut', and the symptoms are not what you’d expect.
1 – Low Mood
This is one of the more surprising effects of having an unhealthy gut. Who knew it could affect your mood? The lining of your gut is very thin, and once this is disrupted it means that toxins, foreign material, and partially digested foods can leak into your bloodstream. This is why it can sometimes be called the ‘leaky gut syndrome’. Once these materials and toxins get into the blood stream it reaches the Blood-Brain Barrier (BBB), the membrane stopping blood getting to the brain. But these particles travel through along with water, gases and molecules, and can create new behavioural and emotional problems which bring your mood down.
Your gut is also incredibly important in the production of serotonin, the ‘happy’ neurotransmitter, as your gut has around 95% of the bodies serotonin receptors. A healthy gut, means a healthy mind. So, if you’ve been feeling a little ‘meh’ recently, sort of sluggish and not feeling as happy as you usually are, it could be a sign that your gut isn’t as happy as it could be, either.
2 – Skin Problems
Your gut also has a role in the health of your skin, and problems such as acne, rosacea, eczema, dandruff or itchy, flaky skin. If the lining in your gut is inflamed, it can cause inflammation in your skin.
Anything which disturbs your gastrointestinal function (your gut) can lead to bloating and constipation, and systemic inflammation (acne). This is also true for the other skin conditions, as inflamed skin will make it appear dry, developing eczema and rosacea.
3 – Feeling Sluggish
If you still feel tired and sluggish, even when you’ve had enough sleep, this could be down to your gut. When the walls of your gut are inflamed, they struggle to take in any of the nutrients from your food, including things like vitamin C and iron. This can then cause you to feel tired more than normal.
The toxins that also make their way to the BBB can not only affect your mood but can also affect your energy levels. So rather than taking supplements, which your gut may not be able to take in anyway, it’s preferable to improve the health of your gut first to see if that’s the root of your problem.
4 – You’re Sick, A Lot...
If your immune system is not doing its job, and you’re getting sick a lot, it could also be a warning sign that your gut is not working properly. Up to three-quarters of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract. If your gut is healthy, it produces a mucus which traps unwanted bacteria, viruses and toxins and pushes them out of the body. This mucus also allows your gut to take in the good vitamins and minerals that support your immune system. So if your gut is unhealthy, it can help the wrong bugs thrive and lead to sickness
5 – Acid Reflux
Frequent acid reflux is another sign your gut isn’t quite doing what it should. If you’re suffering from heartburn and nothing seems to help, then this could be your answer. It means that there could be a build-up of unhealthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract and stomach, causing acid reflux, bloating and burping.
So if you’ve managed to tick one or more of these boxes, there’s a strong chance you need to get your gut back up and working, and here’s how.
1 – Chew Your Food
First one’s easy. When you don’t chew your food well enough, you can’t take the nutrients from the food that you need. Chew about 30 times before you swallow.
2 – Eat Less Sugar
Try cutting sugar out of your diet, as it feeds the unhealthy bacteria in your gut. The more bad bacteria present, the poorer the condition of your overall gut health.
3 – Take Probiotics
Either supplements or fermented foods will help restore your gut. We have an easy video on how to make Carrot and Ginger Sauerkraut here, which is full of probiotics to help. And it's tasty too!
4 – Increase Fiber Intake
Fiber will help you keep your digestive system active, by removing toxins and materials your body doesn’t need.
5 – Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Just adding a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water can boost the amount of acid in your stomach, aiding digestion. But we can’t promise it’ll taste nice!
It's clear that our gut does more than we give it credit for, so it's so important to keep it as healthy as you can for both your body and your mind. An easy way is to cut back on sugar, take your probiotics and see what improves when you do. And keep in mind that a healthy diet means a healthy mind.
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