How the Gut Works

How the Gut Works

Your gut is a large system comprising everything from the mouth to stomach, intestine, and anus and everything in between. Each organ in this system has a specific and unique function that keeps you going.

Below are some of the functions that the human gut performs:

  • Taking the food in and breaking it down to digest
  • Moving the food through the digestive tract
  • Extracting and absorbing the nutrition and converting it into energy
  • Throwing the waste out in the form of faeces 

Healthy digestion is the key to an overall healthy being. But, not many people know that the foundation of a healthy gut is the microbiome. In a healthy gut, you will find adequate good bacteria. These bacteria break down the food so they can be assimilated and digested. 

Why the Gut Microbiome Matters

Only when your gut has the right amount of microbiota can you properly digest/assimilate food and support proper absorption. A healthy gut also fights harmful bacteria, illness-causing pathogens and yeasts from getting territorial and disrupting the gut functioning. There’s also a close link between probiotics and gut health that we will discuss later. 

This knowledge about the link between microbiota, health and probiotics is more important today than ever because never in history have people experienced such a big threat to their microbiome; owing to stress, unhealthy modern lifestyle, lack of sleep and myriad other factors. As a result, the majority is facing these health issues:

  • IBS (Irregular Bowel Syndrome)
  • Candida
  • Allergies
  • Food Intolerances
  • Autoimmune conditions like Psoriasis, Eczema, Arthritis, etc.

All of these are symptoms of unhealthy gut.

Signs of an unhealthy gut

You should know that some amount of bad bacteria residing in the gut is completely normal. It’s when the balance of good vs bad bacteria goes out of whack that you call the stomach ‘unhealthy’. Another term for an unhealthy gut is ‘gut dysbiosis’. 

Few of the symptoms of an unhealthy gut are:

  • Gas, bloating, wind
  • Acid reflux
  • Stomach ache
  • Cravings for sugary and unhealthy foods
  • Fool intolerances, allergies
  • Sleep issues
  • Eczema and other skin conditions.
  • Unexpected and sudden weight changes including weight gain and weight loss

These are just a few common symptoms of an unhealthy gut. The actual list is pretty long.

Replenishing the Gut with the Good Bacteria

Today you can find a variety of probiotic drinks and supplements that are good for giving your gut a nice probiotic boost. But, you have a plethora of natural options too to get a daily dose of good bacteria.

Two popular fermented foods are kombucha and sauerkraut in this regard. While the first is a drink; the latter is fermented cabbage. Both of them are rich in live bacteria stains. Other popular choices are miso (fermented soy), yoghurt, kefir (another popular fermented drink). 

Other than this, you can also try adding ‘prebiotics’ to your diet. These are slightly different from the probiotics in that they act as the food for the bacteria already residing in your stomach. Probiotics are rich in a certain type of fibre that keeps the gut bacteria strong and properly functioning. 

Popular probiotics foods are –

  • Onion
  • Greens like kale, cabbage, broccoli
  • Blueberries
  • Beans 
  • Bananas

For some people, it’s easy to incorporate these foods into their lifestyle. But, those with a busy schedule may not always find it the easiest task. For such people, probiotic supplements are the best alternative.

Supplementing For the Gut Health

The good thing about supplementing with a bacterial supplement is you know the exact amount of probiotics that is going into your stomach. You also know the exact type of live bacteria strains that you will consume. With veggies, probiotics or prebiotics, it’s not possible.

Since these supplements are usually available in capsules or sachets, they are super easy to tear and mix into the drinks for immediate consumption.

But, do a little research beforehand about the different strains before buying them. For instance, Lactobacillus acidophilus is best for bloating related symptoms. 

On the other hand, Lactobacillus rhamnosus Rosell 11 is good for supporting gut health when you’re on antibiotics. 

If you have any confusion, you could talk to a physician as well. Additionally, try to make healing foods a part of your diet to support general gut health for long-term wellness.

Checklist for supporting gut health

There are a bunch of easy lifestyle and dietary changes you can make that can help you immensely in housing the good bacteria and ridding the gut of harmful pathogens and bad bacteria to support long-term gut health. Here they are:

  1. Consume upto 40 g of fibre each day. Additionally, stay hydrated because fibre works best with hydration. 
  2. Avoid too much salt and refined sugar as they can lead to unhealthy cravings.
  3. Do mild exercise every day. Even a 20-30 minute walk is good.
  4. Consume seasonal fruits and vegetables whenever you can.
  5. Consume cooked foods that heal the gut and promote stomach health like bone broth and soups.
  6. Avoid stress.
  7. Limit caffeine intake.
  8. Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  9. Engage in playful and creative activities to engage all senses. This will help you keep stress at bay, which is a major cause of disrupted gut microbiota.

We hope you found the article helpful and that it would help you in some way or another in ensuring gut health.

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