Healthy gut, healthy life

Healthy gut, healthy life

There is a growing body of evidence indicating that gut health has a corresponding impact on your overall health, with several recent research studies revealing the gut microbiome affects the immune system, autoimmune diseases, endocrine disorders, gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, sleep, digestion and even mental health.

Registered dietitian and nutritionist Tabitha Hume explains that the body is downstream of the gut, so if your gut is not healthy, it’s likely you’re not feeling great either. “If your gut is unhealthy, you will be more prone to contracting infections, inflammatory disorders, obesity, worsened symptoms of autoimmune disorders and even increased symptoms of attention deficit disorder,” she says.

Optimal gut health is achieved when there is a balance between good and bad bacteria and yeast in your digestive system. Given the majority of your immune system is in the gut, an unhealthy gut means neither your immune system nor your hormones are able to function optimally. 

Signs that your gut health is struggling, reveals Hume, includes frequent bouts of ill health, indigestion, reflux, sinusitis early in the morning, bloating and swelling, ulcers, infrequent or too frequent bowel movements, abnormal stools, tiredness and sluggishness, and problems with absorption.

The first step to improving gut health, she says, is the follow the right diet to ensure a healthy gut microbiome. “Most people are not eating enough fruit and vegetables, so they are short of fibre. Fibre is critically important for gut health, affecting the functioning of the gut, including the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Foods that are high in fibre include vegetables, beans and legumes, fruit, nuts and seeds.” 

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