The condition of your gut impacts far more than you might realize. Researchers connect nearly every disease including obesity with gut health.
When I say it all starts in your gut, I mean almost everything!
Headaches, migraines, allergies, autoimmunity, weight gain, acne, skin rashes, yeast infections, hormonal imbalances, fatigue, immune challenges, even the way you sense pain—they all relate to the condition and health of your gut.
Your gut is the index of your health. What type of gut bacteria you host makes all the difference between health and disorders. It is because of this reason gut bacteria are a subject of fascination for researchers. Complex but vital to your health
Decades of studies link gut bacteria to the activity of the immune and digestive system. If there is an imbalance in the healthy and unhealthy gut bacteria it leads to:
- IBS, colitis, diarrhea, constipation, inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastric Ulcers
- Respiratory infections
- Yeast/fungal overgrowth
- Auto immune challenges like rheumatoid arthritis, hashimoto’s, celiac disease, lupus
- Psoriasis, eczema, rosacea
- Weak immune system, seasonal allergies
- Frequent UTIs
- Chronic fatigue – adrenal fatigue – fibromyalgia
- Chronic Joint pain – headaches, arthritis
- Depression, anxiety and ADHD
- Thyroid Disorders
- Obesity-related metabolic diseases (fatty liver, Type II diabetes, heart disease)
- Weight Gain & Obesity
No doubt, if your gut is in order, your health is in order. But, how to tell if your gut bacteria is off?
7 Signs of Gut Bacteria Imbalance
1) Digestive issues: Bloating, heartburn, diarrhea, and constipation can all mean a messed up gut.
2) Skin conditions: If you are prone to acne, psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema. It could be due to a lower count of healthy gut bacteria.
3) Autoimmunity: Bad gut bacteria trigger the immune system to attack itself. Instead of the harmful invaders body’s cells get attacked. Studies link autoimmune conditions to imbalances in gut bacteria population.
4) Chronic fatigue: A damaged gut can influence your ability to sleep. It can lead to poor sleep that reflects as fatigue in the day. Your gut makes the hormone serotonin which affects your sleep.
5) Weight gain: If your gut is out of whack gaining weight happens fast. Yes! It can happen despite no major changes to your eating and exercise habits. Unhealthy gut affects nutrient absorption, blood sugar, and fat storage leading to weight gain.
6) Mental health: Research shows that gut helps make brain chemicals. These neurotransmitters influence your emotions like anxiety, depression. About ninety percent of serotonin (the feel-good hormone) is from the gut.
7) Food intolerances: Food intolerances occur when you have difficulty digesting certain foods. It leads to symptoms like bloating, gas, nausea and abdominal pain. Poor gut bacteria can be a cause for food intolerances. Note that food intolerances are different from food allergies.
Foods that promote inflammation include:
- Refined vegetable oils (like canola, corn and soybean oils, which are high in pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids)
- Pasteurized dairy products (common allergens)
- Refined carbohydrates and processed grain products
- Conventional meat, poultry and eggs (high in omega-6s due to feeding the animals corn and cheap ingredients that negatively affect their microbiomes)
- Added sugars (found in the majority of packaged snacks, breads, condiments, canned items, cereals, etc.)
- Trans fats/hydrogenated fats (used in packaged/processed products and often to fry foods)
Foods that lower inflammation include:
On the other hand, many natural foods can lower inflammation and help increase good bacteria in the gut. High-antioxidant foods help reduce gut damage caused by oxidative stress and turn down an overactive immune system while safeguarding healthy cells. A healing leaky gut syndrome diet includes foods like:
- Fresh vegetables (all kinds): loaded with phytonutrients that are shown to lower cholesterol, triglycerides and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Aim for variety and a minimum of four to five servings per day. Some of the best include beets; carrots; cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale); dark, leafy greens (collard greens, kale, spinach); onions; peas; salad greens; sea vegetables; and squashes.
- Whole pieces of fruit (not juice): Fruit contains various antioxidants like resveratrol and flavonoids, which are tied to cancer prevention and brain health. Three to four servings per day is a good amount for most people, especially apples, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, nectarines, oranges, pears, pink grapefruit, plums, pomegranates, red grapefruit or strawberries.
- Herbs, spices and teas: turmeric, ginger, basil, oregano, thyme, etc., plus green tea and organic coffee in moderation.
- Fermented vegetables and other probiotics foods. Probiotics may help reverse leaky gut by enhancing the production of tight junction proteins that defend against intestinal permeability. Probiotic foods contain “good bacteria” that populate your gut and fight off bad bacterial strains. Try to include probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir or sauerkraut or kimchi in your diet daily.
- Wild-caught fish, cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meat: higher in omega-3 fatty acids than farm-raised foods and great sources of protein, healthy fats, and essential nutrients like zinc, selenium and B vitamins.
- Bone broth -Treat leaky gut syndrome – Overcome food intolerances and allergies – Improve joint health – Reduce cellulite – Boost immune system
- Healthy fats: grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts/seeds.
- Foods high in prebiotics – Prebiotics, a type of fiber that gut flora or probiotics feed on, include raw chicory root, Jerusalem artichoke, and raw dandelion greens. Cooked onion and asparagus also contain a small amount of prebiotics.
- Ancient grains and legumes/beans: best when sprouted and 100 percent unrefined/whole. Two to three servings per day or less is best, especially Ansazi beans, adzuki beans, black beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, black rice, amaranth, buckwheat, quinoa.
A healthy gut bacteria is your big ticket to preventing a plethora of health issues. So do what it takes to nourish it!
Do you need more guidance with your nutrition and fitness goals? Message me to learn about my plans!