Keeping your gut happy is important. Many studies have shown that gut health has an impact on many other areas of your body. There are current articles trying to explain how gut health can impact your body’s inflammation, weight, skin health, brain and mental health, hormones, and more. This is a large topic, but I just wanted to briefly touch upon some basics when it comes to gut health.
When you properly take care of your gastrointestinal system, you will see positive changes in your mental and physical health. Good bacteria in your digestive system helps your body better absorb vitamins and minerals, regulate hormones, digest food, eliminate toxins, and have a better immune response. Stool transplant studies in mice indicate metabolic genetic expression can be affected by changing the colon bacterial environment!
This concept of the interacting relationship between our intraluminal (internal portion) of the intestines and the bacteria living there is called the microbiome. Science’s increasing research in this area is revealing a changing understanding as well as new theories about how the microbiome contributes to food digestion, numerous chemical interactions and signals that may contribute to inflammatory and autoimmune disorders and as stated even genetic expression.
What can make your gut bacteria out of balance? The most obvious is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics can be lifesaving and so this is not an endorsement not to receive traditional and proven medical therapy for invasive bacterial infections. There is theory that highly-processed foods, lack of exercise and stress can all lead to a poor-functioning digestive system.
To make your gut happy, a diet rich in probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, fermented foods and anti-inflammatory foods can help the good bacteria flourish and recover from invasive infections as well as a course of antibiotics. Probiotics (can be found in yogurt or supplements) and prebiotics (wheat, rye, legumes, artichokes, honey, mushrooms) contain bacteria that our gut likes and needs. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha tea provide microflora in the body which is touted as beneficial to our gastrointestinal system. Fermentable fiber in your diet can provide favorable support for your microbiome. Refined grains (common in gluten free diets), fried and processed foods in your diet lower favorable fiber intake.
Stress both physical and mental has yet to be explained adverse effects on a person’s health. It’s important for you to find ways to decompress so you will keep your immune system and gut happy. Exercise, reading, meditation, yoga, and sleep are great ways to combat stress.
If you’re experiencing any concerning symptoms or looking for help with your diet, Dr. Kordonowy of Internal Medicine, Lipid & Wellness of Fort Myers offers comprehensive dietary consults to his patients. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kordonowy, call 239-362-3005, ext. 200 or click here. Dr. Kordonowy is a concierge doctor, cholesterol specialist who offers direct primary care as well.
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