Gut health is one of the most talked-about topics in the world right now, with more and more people thinking more carefully about what they eat and drink and how it affects their gut, as well as more scientists and researchers dedicating their own time and efforts to exploring the ways in which the gut directly influences and affects a whole range of bodily processes.
In the past, it was believed that the gut was a relatively simple part of the body, with its sole responsibilities being digestion of food and disposal of waste. However, if we look at what dietitians say about gut health today, the situation is very different.
Recent studies have revealed that the gut is far more complex than ever imagined, with its delicate microbiome involved with everything from immune response to hormone production. From this, we can conclude that it’s absolutely vital to look after the gut, making the right dietary and lifestyle choices, and knowing the signs when something isn’t quite right.
Of course, one of the biggest red flags when it comes to gut health is an upset or troubled stomach. If you find that you seem to be suffering from the likes of diarrhea, constipation, excessive gas, bloating, and so on on a regular basis, this may be a sign of an unhealthy gut.
If your gut isn’t functioning correctly, or if the balance of intestinal bacteria isn’t quite right, it’s only natural that you may feel the consequences in the form of stomach pain and associated problems. So if you do have repeated aches and issues, don’t simply overlook or ignore them. Speak with your doctor and take action to give your gut a helping hand.
Unpredictable Weight Changes
Many people like to try and control their weight, shedding a few excess pounds if they want to slim down or making sure to exercise regularly and monitor their portion sizes to stay at or below a certain weight. However, if you notice that your weight seems to fluctuate without even making any major changes to lifestyle or diet, this could be a sign of a gut problem.
The gut is responsible for digesting food and allowing your body to absorb and make use of nutrients, but if your weight keeps changing, it could be that your gut is having issues controlling nutrient absorption correctly.
Intolerance of Certain Foods
Do you find that you struggle when eating certain foods? If so, you’re not alone. Estimates suggest that around 1 in 5 people have some form of food intolerance, with dairy, gluten, and caffeine being common culprits.
One of the possible causes of food intolerance is due to imbalances of bacteria in the gut; too many ‘bad bacteria’ might make it hard for your gut to process certain types of food, making you more likely to suffer the consequences in the form of bloating, gas, stomach pain, and so on.
Many people have problems sleeping. Statistics show that tens of millions of Americans have sleep disorders, and there can be many causes for this. One of the possible causes of issues like insomnia, interrupted sleep, and general fatigue is gut health.
This is all because of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin helps to control stress levels, mood, and sleep, allowing people to drift off each night into a relaxing rest, and if your body isn’t producing sufficient serotonin, you can struggle to sleep properly. Serotonin is made in the gut, and poor gut health can make it hard to produce in proper doses.
These are just some of the many symptoms and signs of poor gut health, and it’s important to note that there are other signs out there, as well as noting the fact that these signs may also be caused by other issues too.
Poor sleep quality could be due to high-stress levels, for instance, while stomach upsets can be caused by viruses and diseases too. This is why self-diagnosis is never the right option, and you should always get a professional opinion from your medical doctor if you feel that something is wrong.
If you do have an issue with gut health, there are many different ways to make changes and get back on track. Adjusting your diet to remove trigger foods like dairy and gluten is a good first step, and many people may also consider making the switch to more plant-based foods and probiotics to be kinder to their gut.