To restore gut health, we first need to know what are the signs of an unhealthy gut.
In this article:
- Everything Starts With Gut Microbiome
- 5 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
- Ways to Restore Gut Health
How to Restore Gut Health:
Everything Starts With Gut Microbiome
In the past, science considered the human digestive system a primitive system: foods pass through one long tube, is absorbed, then excreted in the form of waste.
The term “gut microbiome” has come to light in modern science. It refers to the microorganisms residing in the human intestines. Few types of these microorganisms are harmful, whereas many are incredibly beneficial and necessary for a healthy body.
5 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
Unfortunately, many facets of modern life such as stress, processed food, or lack of sleep damage the gut microbiome, resulting in an unhealthy gut and eventually impacting numerous aspects of the whole body such as brain, heart, skin, or weight.
Here are five signs of an unhealthy gut:
1 Stomach & Food Intolerances
Stomach disturbances make it more difficult to process food and eliminate waste. Common symptoms include:
The above symptoms and the imbalanced levels of gut bacteria can be responsible for the development of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some people.
The poor quality of the gut microbiome may also cause food intolerances. Unlike a food allergy, – an immune reaction is triggered when a person takes certain foods. Food intolerances refer to the difficulty digesting certain foods with symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and acid reflux.
2 Unintentional Weight Changes
Unintentional weight change is another hallmark of digestive problems: an unhealthy gut can impact how the body regulates blood sugar levels, stores fat, or absorbs nutrients.
While small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is the general factor behind sudden weight loss, insulin resistance, or the urge to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption may cause a person to gain weight uncontrollably.
High-sugar and processed foods can impair your gut the same way and leave further damage due to increased sugar cravings. A Western-style diet high in fat and refined carbohydrates may promote SIBO and potentially leads to obesity.
3 Sleep Disturbances
The gut is responsible for producing most of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and mood.
As a result, insomnia, poor quality sleep, or chronic fatigue all show an unhealthy digestive system. Sleep disturbances also pose the risks of fibromyalgia.
Definition: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that causes general fatigue, sleep and cognitive disturbances, pain in the muscles and bones (musculoskeletal pain), and areas of tenderness.
4 Skin Irritation
The gut microbiome influences the skin through complex immune mechanisms. Poor diet or food allergies cause gut inflammation, which triggers increased “leaking” of some proteins out into the body. “Protein leaks” irritate the skin and cause eczema and other skin conditions.
5 Autoimmune Conditions
Medical researchers have found new evidence of the impact of the gut on the immune system. An unhealthy gut promotes increased inflammation and alters immunity functioning, causing autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes.
Ways to Restore Gut Health
A simple yet effective way to restore gut health: drinking a sufficient amount of water (eight glasses) every day. Drinking enough water benefits the mucosal lining of the intestines and helps balance the gut microbiome levels.
Definition: The mucosal lining (mucous membrane) is the moist inner lining of the stomach and other organs/body cavities like the nose, mouth, lungs, or vagina.
Eat the Right Way
What you need to reduce digestive discomfort and restore gut health is full digestion and absorption of nutrients. In that case, chewing foods thoroughly and eating more slowly can help.
Good Foods for a Good Gut
Certain types of food actively promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system:
- Collagen-boosting foods: salmon and bone broth may benefit gut health and overall health in general. Other collagen-boosting foods like dairy or mushrooms can also help.
- Fermented foods: yogurt, kimchi, tempeh, and miso are natural dietary sources that can benefit the gut microbiome.
- Garlic and onion: not only add spice to dishes but also have some immune-enhancing and anti-cancer properties closely tied to some primary functions of the gut.
- High-fiber foods: beans, peas, oats, legumes, berries, bananas, leeks, and asparagus have been shown to have a positive impact on gut health.
Prebiotic and Probiotic
Prebiotics facilitate beneficial gut bacteria growth, while probiotics are live good bacteria and yeasts that are good for your digestive system. Probiotics and prebiotics can help prevent or treat inflammatory skin issues.
Sleep Well & Stay Stress-Free
Low quality and insufficient quantity of sleep seriously impact gut health. If you want to restore gut health, start with 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
Chronic stress is also harmful to your gut. Some easy ways to decompress:
- Decreasing caffeine intake
- Practicing meditation, yoga
- Participating in outdoor activities
- Hanging out with friends and family members
RELATED: How to Decompress After a Long Day
Suppose you experience any of these various symptoms. In that case, it’s best to visit a naturopathic doctor who specializes in gut health and get everything checked out to determine what is the most appropriate treatment to restore gut health.
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