Why is gut health the gateway to good health.

Why are we hearing this phrase more and more?

Recent research is providing insight into the importance of good gut health.  It is giving new meaning to the phrase “you are what you eat”.

Read on to understand why good gut health is being promoted as the gateway to good health.

As a nutritionist I fundamentally believe that:

  • What we choose to eat day-to-day over time has an impact on our health.
  • What we eat influences how we feel, how we think and how we look.
  • What we eat influences our risk for developing poor health and disease (this includes type-2-diabetes, heart disease, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and a range of autoimmune diseases).

Six things you need to know about gut health

  1. It is the digestive tract is the most exposed part of our body (even more so than the skin) to the outside world through what we eat.
  2. Our gut is approximately 200 times larger than our skin surface and the bacteria we carry in our gut weighs approximately 1.5kg.
  3. The ratio of human cells to bugs carried by the body is 9-10 to 1.  We are like a large complex bug carrier living in harmony and symbiosis with our bugs.
  4. Bacteria in the gut helps educate and manage our body’s defense system, by interacting with our immune system.
  5. Our gut bacteria not only influences our physical health it also influences our mental health – how we actually feel day to day through the gut-brain connection.
  6. You do not need to be carrying excess weight to have less than optimal or poor gut (bacteria) health.

Pretty amazing facts do you not think?  And I could go on and on……  It is literally mind boggling how important gut health is.

How do you know if you have poor gut health?

Poor or compromised gut health can contribute to and manifest in a number of ways including (but not limited to):

  • Ongoing unresolved bloating, flatulence and digestive symptoms.
  • Unresolved ongoing fatigue.
  • Recurring (and unresolved) poor immunity.
  • Change in bowel habits including diarrhoea and/or constipation.
  • Increased risk or exacerbation of health issues including asthma, food allergies or intolerance, skin problems and rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Increased risk of developing chronic health conditions including blood sugar issues, type-2-diabetes and thyroid problems.

The link between our ‘western diet and lifestyle’ and gut health?

There is definitely a link between the ‘western diet and lifestyle’ and poor gut health.  I am referring to a diet high in processed, refined and packaged food including take-away, fast food, junk food.  I am also referring to diets where you find yourself eating out as much or possibly more than you eat in whether it be to be social reasons, because you are too tired and the end of the day to cook, because you think it is cheaper or for general convenience.

Unfortunately these diets are often low or lacking in key nutrients, high in unhealthy fats, high in sugar and/or low in substances essential to good gut health such as fibre.  Put simply, over time these diets will and can undermine good gut health.

How healthy is your gut?

You may think you have good gut health and are healthy however you could be on a path leading you to increased risk of disease.

I have worked with many clients where poor gut health symptoms have slowly crept into their life, to the point where the symptoms are no longer considered unusual rather part of day-to-day life.  So many of us are so busy just getting through our day-to-day list of things to do, we lack time to pause and take stock of how we feel or worse, we incorrectly accept daily gut symptoms such as bloating as part and parcel of getting older.

Healthy eating is about balance & moderation

The good news is that you can improve your gut health and prevent and/or reduce your risk of disease by changing your diet and tweaking your lifestyle habits.

Nature has created an array of foods that have the potential to taste good, nourish our bodies and tantalise and satisfy our emotional, physical and mental needs.  To reap the benefits of this, we need to trust what nature has created for our enjoyment and health.

I believe healthy eating is characterised by the principles of fresh, balance, moderation and quality.  If you underpin this by being active day-to-day you have a formulae to help you embed a strong foundation for good health.

If you would like to know more about what you need to redress and improve your gut health, then I encourage you to make contact with me.

Alternatively check out my workshop coming up in November – How to Eat Healthy this Summer and Make your Gut your Friend.

I wish you the best.  Remember “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.

ciao Jan