“Oh, I have a gut feeling!” How often have you said that statement and followed that feeling? Probably all the time. But it might surprise you to know that your gut is massively important for your overall health, not just for making emotion-driven decisions! Studies in the past two decades have demonstrated the link between gut health and the following key systems:
- Immune system
- Mental Health
- Autoimmune diseases
- Skin conditions
Keeping this in mind, it’s important to keep your gut health strong. Today, many facets of your life like high stress levels, too little sleep at night, and too much processed and high-sugar food can damage your gut health. There are a number of signs that your gut isn’t doing too well:
1. Sleep disturbances and relentless fatigue
An unhealthy gut may contribute to disturbances in your sleep and long-term disorders like insomnia or chronic fatigue. The gut produces huge amounts of serotonin, the hormone that affects your mood and sleep. Your bad gut health could be the reason you aren’t getting a restful sleep at night! Some sleep disturbances could also be linked to an increased risk for fibromyalgia.
2. Unplanned weight fluctuations
If you have suddenly gained or lost weight without making changes to your diet or exercise routine, it may be a sign of poor gut health. This is because an imbalanced gut can affect your body’s ability to absorb powerful nutrients from food, regulate blood sugar, or store fat. Weight loss could be due to the overgrowth of Small Intestinal Bacteria (SIB). Your weight gain could be due to an impulse to overeat due to decreased nutrient absorption.
3. Skin itchiness and upset stomach hurts gut health
Skin conditions like eczema (powerful inflammation) could be related to a damaged or weak gut. Inflammation in the gut due to a poor diet or food allergies could induce certain proteins to “leak” into the body, which in turn can irritate the skin and lead to strong itchiness and redness.
You don’t have to look at just your skin, you can identify a weak gut from an upset stomach, often the first sign. Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea can be signs of an unhealthy gut. A balanced gut will be able to easily eliminate waste and process eaten food effortlessly throughout the day.
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4. Overconsumption of sugar
If you find yourself craving and consuming a diet of processed foods and sweets, then be aware that you are decreasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut. This imbalance can increase your sugar cravings still further, damaging your gut more. This vicious cycle ultimately leads to inflammation in the body, and long-term inflammation can lead to serious diseases or even cancer, if unchecked.
5. Food intolerances can affect gut health too
Food intolerances means you have difficulty digesting certain foods, and they can be signs that there is a poor quality of bacteria in your gut. This can lead to difficulty in digesting the foods that trigger you, as well as bloating, gas, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea
Nurse Your Gut
The human gut is an iceberg that has an impact on your holistic health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, robust heart and brain, a good mood, a healthy sleep cycle and perfect digestion, and can prevent long-term diseases. If you have seen even one of the above signs, it might be time to look into treatments and solutions. Fortunately, there are a number of diet and lifestyle changes you can make to transform your gut health, which we touch on here.