A Guide To Your Gut And Keeping It Healthy

How often do you think about your gut?  If you’re like most people, the inner workings of your digestive system will only occur to you when there’s a problem.  And when there’s a problem, chances are you’ll be too busy trying to find something you can take to fix things to spend much time thinking about why your gut reacts the way it does.  However, if you take the time to learn a bit about your gut, you can learn to keep it healthy naturally.

Knowing Your Gut

Firstly, lets learn a bit more about how the digestive system works.  Some may remember from school, but for those who need a refresher, Love Your Gut does a great job of explaining.  It’s a wonderfully complex system with dozens of highly specific processes, but simply put, a healthy digestive system absorbs the nutrients available and expels what isn’t needed as waste.

Once we understand how the gut works, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with its many inhabitants.  A healthy gut is home to several hundred species of bacteria which help you process your food for energy.  These include akkermansia microbes, which help regulate your metabolism, lactobacillus, which makes your gut inhospitable for bad bacteria, and bifidobacterium, which protects the lining of your intestine.

Most of the time, this system works away in the background with no problems.  However, occasionally something will go wrong, which is when we start noticing it. Below we go over three of the most common digestive ailments and what you can do to prevent them naturally.

Indigestion

While generally harmless, indigestion can be very painful and uncomfortable.  It presents itself in a variety of ways, from a sharp abdominal pain to passing gas and heartburn.  Indigestion can be caused by an illness such as IBS or simple stress, but most of the time it is a result of poor eating habits.

There are various natural ways to prevent indigestion, most of them revolve around eating slower, healthier, and in smaller portions.  Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, and sourdough bread has also been shown to aid digestion by introducing new healthy bacteria to your gut.

Constipation

It’s an awkward subject to talk about, but a lot of us would be a lot healthier if we didn’t shy away from it.  According to Healthline, a whopping 42 million Americans are affected by constipation, many of which could improve their situation by making small changes to their lifestyle.

Things like regular exercise and drinking enough water are important, but the key thing here is fiber.  You should be eating 28 to 34 grams of dietary fiber a day, preferably from fruit, vegetables, and whole foods.  Most Americans fall short of this target with about 16g a day on average, so it is worth checking your diet to see how you measure up.

Bloating

Everyone feels bloated once in a while, but few people realize why that is.  Bloating is caused by your internal organs stretching or distending during the digestive process.  This is usually due to too much food being consumed, but it can also be down to the type of food.  Foods that are high in a type of compound called FODMAPs can be particularly difficult to digest, leading to bloating and gas when they reach the colon.

As with the other ailments, a healthy and balanced diet can make a big difference.  However, if you suffer from regular bloating, it may be worth reducing your intake of high-FODMAP foods. Strengthening your abdominal muscles through exercise could also help with your discomfort.

The Takeaway:

A Guide To Your Gut And Keeping It Healthy

These issues are extremely common and, most of the time, are easily prevented through a healthy lifestyle.  However, it is important to bear in mind that they can also be symptoms of digestive illnesses like IBS, Chron’s Disease, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.  If changes in diet and exercise are not helping, go talk to your doctor about your symptoms.  Many of these ailments are manageable with the proper knowledge, so don’t despair: great gut health is within reach.



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