5 Reasons Why Gut Health Matters
The health of your gut relates to the health of the rest of your body and mind. What happens in the gut, doesn’t stay in the gut. Here are my top 5 reasons why nourishing your gut matters for your overall wellbeing, and how you can ensure your gut is well equipped to keep you healthy for the long term.
1. Transforms food into protein, carbs and fats which build and feed your brain, skin, nervous system, muscles, and organs.
We need healthy fats to build cell membranes, insulate our nerve fibres, and construct hormones for good message conduction. Did you know your brain is 60% fat? Proteins are the building block for genetic expression (DNA, RNA), muscle, bone, organs and neurotransmitters. Carbohydrates provide energy to think, move and build our body. Additionally, it is critically important that we include lots of vegetables to provide the polyphenols, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, flavonoids, phytosterols, (and many more plant compounds) which helps us eliminate toxins and waste.
2. Has a microbiome – a group of mostly bacteria, some viruses, and fungi that help you digest food, make vitamins and chemicals that affect your mood, hormones, and interact with your immune system.
The microbiome’s tasks include detoxification, protection, and regulation of other body systems such as hormone and energy distribution networks, the immune system, and the brain. It provides you nutrients such as folate, vitamin K, biotin, riboflavin (B2), cobalamin (B12), and possibly other B vitamins. When the microbiome is out of balance, you are more susceptible to irregular bowel movements, gas, pain, bloating, anxiety, depression, inflammation, and infection.
3. Houses over seventy percent of your immune system.
There’s a reason over 70 percent of your immune system is in your gastrointestinal tract. It’s where you meet a lot of intruders from the environment. If your defenses are down, you’ll be more susceptible to colds, flus, and other infections.
4. Protects your entire body and brain against risk of infection and inflammation
If your gut is strong and healthy, it is better armed to eliminate and excrete toxins from viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungus, protozoa, parasites, spirochetes, worms, and prions. If the lining of your gut becomes irritated or inflamed from toxins, it is more apt to “leak” infection and inflammation out into the rest of the body and send distress signals that affect the brain.
5. Fuels a healthy, happy body and mind if you are consuming the right quality and quantity of food.
When you eat, you first feed your microbiome. A diverse and well-balanced microbiome also ferments fibrous carbohydrates to make its own array of by-products that include many chemicals that affect our mood, ones we thought once only to be made in the brain. Things like GABA, serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine. Your microbiome likes fibre and this allows you to eliminate stool regularly, and discard of toxins. If stool hangs around too much, toxins begin to re-absorb into your body, affecting your mood and disposition.
So where does one start to make a happy and healthy gut? Food. Food is medicine. Food quality, quantity, timing all make a difference in what feeds not only you, but also your microbiome. Take care of your gut and it will take care of you.
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