Did you know that an unhealthy gut can contribute to everything from facial breakouts and difficulty concentrating to catching a cold and even cancer? If you’re body isn’t successfully flushing out toxins, the accumulation of the “bad stuff” manifests itself in ways that aren’t only related to an upset stomach.
Your digestive system is the key to keeping your entire body running smoothly and feeling great. It affects every nook and cranny of your body and yes, even your mind.
But the truth is, many people (even healthy vegan eaters) don’t realize they’re having digestive problems.
Even if you do have regular, healthy bowel movements, your overall wellness centers on the health of your gut. Due to this undeniable fact, it’s critical you keep your gut in optimal shape at all times.
If you’re exercising, managing your stress, sleeping well and eating your vegetables, that should be all you need to do, right? Although that’s a huge leap in the right direction, your gut still needs special attention. You’re gut processes all the good and the bad that you put into it.
WHAT ROLE DOES YOUR GUT PLAY?
Everyone knows the gut is responsible for digesting food, but did you know it also performs other essential functions? Your gut is also where you actually benefit from all the nutrition you take in.
Intestinal flora inside your gut, or “good” bacteria, helps your body detoxify and absorb nutrients. If that bacterium is depleted, a multitude of gut issues can ensue.
Your gut also holds something referred to as “The Second Brain,” which comprises microbiomes and the enteric nervous system. That’s right, the nervous system runs through your gut. The Second Brain is so powerful that it regulates your mood (it supplies over 95% of the mood-boosting serotonin!). This is why many people with, say, IBS also experience depression or general malaise. Many of your hormones are also managed by the Second Brain.
On top of that, 80% of your body’s immune system is located in your digestive tube, so it plays a huge role in protecting your body from bugs, viruses and “bad” bacteria.
As you can see, the gut’s functioning affects every process in your body, so the side effects of poor gut health can show up anywhere.
WHY IT PAYS TO HAVE A HEALTHY GUT
When you have a healthy quantity of good bacteria, you can feel the difference. Healthy digestion gets vital nutrients to your body, sends important signals to your immune system and helps your brain function. You don’t feel bloated, you don’t experience any strain during bowel movements and you don’t have to run to the bathroom after a meal. Your immune system is also more equipped to fight off any infections or illnesses brought on by invading pathogens or microorganisms.
Dr. Emily Chan, ND, says:
“The GI tract is where we get nutrition to the body, where major elimination of toxins take place, and the largest immune system interface in the body. Improvements to the health of the GI tract often lead to improvement of other systems of the body.”
SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT
Symptoms of bad gut health
When there’s a voice inside telling you that something’s not right, you better listen. Bad gut health can affect the body very adversely. Here are some of the most common symptoms that signal that something is off:
- Bad breath
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Gas (excessive flatulence & belching)
- Heartburn/Acid Reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Pain in the Rectal Area
- Stomach Cramps & Pain
- Wet Burps
This is not a comprehensive list of symptoms. A weak digestive system expresses itself in a multitude of ways. So even if you don’t necessarily feel cramps or have diarrhea, take care of your gut, it will benefit you no matter what.
WHAT CAUSES GUT ISSUES?
If you’re suffering from some of the uncomfortable symptoms of bad gut health, you might be left in the dark wondering what happened. So what actually triggers gut issues? Dr. Alejandro Junger cites the following causes as the main offenders:
- Antibiotics and medications
- Chemicals, preservatives and conservatives in food
- Chlorinated drinking and shower water
- Lack of sleep
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Opportunistic organisms (yeast, fungus, parasites)
- Toxic food triggers
YOUR GUT, YOUR RESPONSITILITY
Steps to Take for a Healthy Digestive System
Eat for your gut’s sake
Processed, fatty foods do nothing but harm your body and hinder your gut’s productivity. They make your digestive system sluggish, tired and vulnerable. On the other hand, feeding your body with the raw, living enzymes from fresh vegetables and fruits works miracles in your gut.
What you eat directly affects your gut health, and meat-centered diets can actually cause colon inflammation. A diet that consists of at least 85% raw vegetables is easy for your gut to digest and doesn’t negatively affect the “good” intestinal flora. Make sure to get enough fiber every day to keep things moving.
These are some of the most gut-friendly, fiber-rich foods. Eat as much as you want!
- Brussels sprouts
- Chia seeds
- Fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi
- Green peas
- Need something sweet? Have a cup of raspberries (but remember to limit fruit intake overall as you focus on eating 85% raw vegetables)
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
A few additional things to keep in mind:
- Probiotics – Probiotics can deliver as much as 60% of the bacteria to you colon—where it’s needed the most! This bacteria helps to regulate and restore good bacteria to your gut so that it can fight infections and promote immune system health.
- Digestive Enzymes – Eating healthy is just not enough if your body is having trouble breaking down your food. Digestive enzymes help your body to not only break down the food, but also effectively absorb the nutrients. It alleviates the digestive stress that might be affecting your body and lets you reap the benefits of the natural nutrition and disease protection
- Choose a Good Fiber Cleanse – This is an excellent way to flush the colon and get you back to your best bowel function. It cleanses and eliminates harmful toxins that may have built up inside your body over time.
BETTER HEALTH TODAY, A BETTER GUT TOMORROW
It’s never too late to make a change for the better when it comes to your gut. When you make dietary changes for the better—think raw vegetables instead of a greasy fast-food burger— your gut will get stronger and protect your body from infections.
Pair that with our very best cleanses and supplements and you’ll notice a huge difference almost instantly. Not only will you feel better, but your body will look better, too!