When it comes to ending a relationship or accepting a new job, people will tell you to "trust your gut." As it turns out, not only can your gut guide your decision making - it can also shed light on your overall health and well-being.
If you suffer from certain health conditions or seek to avoid diseases like type 2 diabetes, taking steps to improve your gut health can make a world of difference in the way you feel. Read on to find out more:
The gut as the body's control center
Danielle DuBose, founder of Sakara Life, told Marie Claire that people should think of their gut as their body's control center: "If you want to change your body and take back your health, this is where you have to start," she said.
Likewise, The New York Times reported that Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg promotes viewing the body as "an elaborate vessel optimized for the growth and spread of our microbial inhabitants."
So why are health experts pushing the importance of regulating our gut health? It has something to do with the many bacteria that reside there.
Finding the right balance of bacteria
The gut houses approximately three pounds of bacteria, according to Argonne National Laboratory. For the most part, if your gut bacteria is diverse, you're likely to experience good gut health. However, if you're lacking certain bacteria that assist in digestion, your body will be unable to properly break down food into nutrients. This reduced functioning can lead to a variety of health problems ranging from constipation to reduced cognitive function.
Additionally, as Healthline pointed out, some bacteria can cause diseases like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.
How to maintain a healthy gut
The better you treat your gut, the better it will treat you. Improved gut health can lead to increased energy, stronger immunity and sharper focus, among various other benefits such as experiencing less discomfort and bloating after eating a meal.
Here are five steps you can take to achieve the right balance of gut bacteria:
- Eat a whole-food or "clean" diet with lots of vegetables and whole grains.
- Take an organic dietary supplement such as Jou Digestive Health.
- Avoid artificial sweeteners like aspartame.
- Make priobiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, part of your diet.
- Enjoy chocolate and red wine on occasion - they're rich in polyphenols.