It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the gut is an essential part of our well being. The gastrointestinal tract is responsible for transporting food from the mouth to the stomach. It is this tract that handles the food that we eat accountable for the energy we need to survive.
Nourishment is the base for our survival, Simple. There is no way you can possibly survive. Not saying there aren’t people who defy these rules, but that’s for another time.
As medical advances have been made there has been a new discovery. This entire tract is responsible for a lot more than just digestion. From immunity to chronic illness to emotional stress, all of it is covered under the gut.
All this because of what our guts hold. Which are trillions of bacteria. The kind that helps our bodies digest food and now also helps maintain homeostasis and regulate our well being.
The study of microbiome i.e., the makeup of bacteria and other microorganisms, is still in its preliminary stages. But even here, it has already been established that there are certain things better than others for maintaining a healthy gut.
Why is it important?
Each microbiome present in the body is unique and has unique needs. But at the same time, there are specific properties that are taken as a healthy environment for the survival of the microbiome.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, it is a healthy body that has a wide array of organisms. These are not just bacteria but also viruses, fungi, and other microbes too. An unhealthy body, on the other hand, lacks in diversity and is more susceptible to falling sick.
Bacteria also control inflammation. Some promote it; others fight it. Under normal circumstances they maintain a delicate balance that keeps us healthy. It is when this balance gets hurt that the metabolites pass through the gut lining and spread inflammation throughout the body.
Multiple studies have also pointed to the bacteria in the gut towards a lower metabolic function, some to an increased chance of contracting asthma and allergies. Bacteria have also been associated with chronic illnesses like heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Neurological conditions like schizophrenia, dementia, anxiety, and depression have also been studied concerning the gut.
The difference in the bacterial makeup in lean and overweight people has also suggested that the bacteria could be the reason behind weight issues.
How to cultivate a healthy gut?
Eat right. Simple. You are not just eating for yourself but rather all of those trillions of bacteria that are responsible for your well being. Everybody has different needs, but there are certain general principles that you can follow for a good, strong, healthy gut.
- Eat a variety of plant-based foods
- Fiber is good. Eat foods like fruits, pulses, and vegetables.
- Processed food is bad. They tend to diminish good bacteria and aggravate the bad bacteria.
- Yogurt is good for the promotion of a healthy gut
- Choose olive oil over other kinds of fats. As they contain the highest volume of polyphenols that help the bacteria in the gut thrive.
Antibiotics destroy all bacteria in your stomach. If you have to take antibiotics, try to eat a lot of food later that helps replenish the microbes in your system.
The gut works on the same principles as that of the rest of your body. A balanced diet, regular exercise, and a night of good sleep, all of them are catalysts in your quest for a healthier gut.
The habits that don’t sit well with you when you don’t take your gut into consideration are the ones that continue to be bad for you. Too much alcohol and smoking will hurt your microbiome. The exception here would be red wine in minimal quantities along with coffee also in minimum amounts.
Avoid too many medicines as they cause complete elimination of bacteria. Dairy, processed and red meats, and sugars should also be consumed in moderation.
The secret behind a healthy gut I reiterate is a diet rich in fiber and nutrients and low in refined and saturated foods.
Your gut lives off whatever is left over after the body has consumed all the nutrients and amino acids. What they want to eat id complex fiber and not the processed crap we have become so fond of.