Imagine starting your day off with stomach pain, cramps, or diarrhea. It’s a mood killer and may even lead to a trip to your doctor. Every system in your body correlates for proper functioning. A healthy digestive system will essentially make your days peaceful, enhance hormone production and improve your overall health. Since the gut is the main component that breaks down food to supply important nutrients to our bodies, we need to take good care of our gut health. Gut imbalances have been associated with hormonal imbalances. Plus, our immune system is located in the gut. When you start developing gut complications, they should be addressed immediately to prevent escalation of the conditions. The following are seven signs that your gut is unhealthy.
Signs of Unhealthy Gut Skin Irritation
You’ll be surprised to learn that skin conditions such as eczema originate from the gut. Inflammation in the gut due to poor diets or food allergies can cause inflammation which is likely to lead to leakage of certain proteins into our bodies. As a result, this irritates the skin to cause eczema and other skin conditions. One study showed that 54 percent of acne patients had altered gut flora. It has also been established that a high percentage of psoriasis patients have lower intestinal bacteria levels. Specialists always say that good gut health reflects on our skin, and they are right.
2. Frequent Stomach Upsets
When you notice your stomach has been unhappy lately, it means there is something you’re eating that’s not good for your gut. Diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating and heartburn are telltale signs that there’s something wrong with your digestive system. For instance, consuming meals with too many carbohydrates triggers stomach upsets. If left untreated, excess carbohydrates in your body can lead to colitis or inflammatory bowel disease. Cases of food intolerance is usually an indication of poor gut health and the symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, and bloating. ”
3. Lack of Enough Sleep and Fatigue
Sleep disorders such as insomnia and poor sleep are a by-product of an unhealthy gut. Serotonin, the hormone responsible for sleep and mood is mainly produced in the gut. Gut damage impairs the production of serotonin which in turn affects sleep. Sleep is important for our wellbeing and its deprivation leads to issues like fatigue. One of the reasons you may feel overly fatigued is an imbalance in gut bacteria (dysbiosis). This causes excess fermentation of carbohydrates and other gases like hydrogen sulphide, which is said to cause mitochondria dysfunction. (Mitochondria are responsible for energy production in our cells).
4. Weight Gain
Our digestive health is determined by how gut bacteria behave. That is, gut bacteria control how our bodies store fat, control blood glucose levels and balance the hormones that make us feel hungry or full. When there is bacteria imbalance or a wrong mix of bacteria, regardless of how much you exercise, shedding off that extra fat may become impossible.
5. Anxiety and Depression
It’s said that the gut is the second brain in our bodies due to how it regulates our bodies response to certain foods, drugs, and drinks. A gut that’s not functioning correctly affects your mood. Depression can be caused by insufficient production of serotonin, which is one of the several neurotransmitters. The fact the almost 95 percent of all serotonin gut produces, shows a direct correlation between gut health and depression or anxiety.
6. Autoimmune Disorders
When your gut is unhappy, you may experience a variety of autoimmune disorders, including Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Autoimmune diseases mainly occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells. And since the immune system resides in the gut, you can see why a healthy digestive system is of paramount importance. When the gut gets damaged, toxins and bacteria may leak into your bloodstream and trigger autoimmune disorders and inflammation. Suppressed immunity is also a common condition caused by an unhealthy gut. If you suffer from infections and illnesses more often than normal, it might be because your immune system is not at its optimal performance. ”
7. Sugar Cravings
Certain bacteria in the gut secrete specific proteins that are similar to leptin and ghrelin, the hunger-regulating hormones. These proteins are said to affect your food cravings, making you eat sugary foods so that the bacteria can thrive. Eating foods that promote good gut bacteria can fix these cravings over time and eventually you can be able to overcome the sugar cravings.
How to Improve Gut Health
Apart from the above signs of an unhealthy gut, bad breath, joint pain, and poor memory are also issues to look out for. To improve your gut health:
- Get the recommended hours of sleep.
- Try to eat slowly and chew food properly to improve digestion.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
- Change your daily diet by reducing high-sugar, high-fat foods.
- Eat more of fiber-rich foods like bananas, asparagus, and beans.
Likewise, onions and garlic have beneficial compounds that may enhance your immune system. Additionally, take plenty of fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and miso.
All images by PxHere