Have you ever taken the time to thank your gut for all the work it does?
It's not something we always think about, but our bodies are teeming with trillions of beneficial microorganisms. Many of these microbes make their home in a corner of our large intestines affectionately referred to as the "gut." The health of these microbes has a huge impact on many other areas of your wellbeing. Here's how you'll benefit by making a point to put gut health first.
- Weight Loss: When balanced correctly, your gut microbiome helps your body run smoothly. When out of balance, issues can start to add up. One of these problems is gut dysbiosis. This imbalance of healthy and unhealthy organisms can lead to weight gain. Lab studies have shown that mice with an imbalanced microbiome gained more weight than mice with a balanced biome while eating the same diet. If one of your goals is to lose weight, finding balance in your microbiome can only help.
- Healthier Digestion: Perhaps unsurprisingly, the gut microbiome plays a huge role in digestion. Therefore, it makes sense that an unhealthy gut can lead to digestive issues. The unhealthy bacteria present in gut dysbiosis produce gas and other chemicals, which can contribute to bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain. Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease are both impacted by your gut health. Finding balance may help you manage both conditions.
- A Healthier Heart: Healthy gut, healthy heart? It's more likely than you think. A 2015 study found a connection between the gut microbiome and the body's levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. An imbalanced biome, on the other hand, was associated with higher levels of chemicals that contribute to blocked arteries.
- Brain Health: Emerging research shows a strong link between the gut microbiome and brain health. For example, many people with psychological disorders have different species of bacteria in their guts when compared to people without these disorders. There's also evidence that certain species of bacteria produce brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. These include serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve mood.
If any of these benefits are intriguing to you, you may be happy to hear that improving your gut biome is easier than you think. The key is a healthy, varied diet. Focus on eating a diverse range of foods, particularly those high in fiber and whole grains. Adding fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut to your diet helps increase healthy bacteria and decrease unhealthy species. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame may stimulate the growth of unhealthy bacteria, and so are worth avoiding. Finally, adding a greens powder that contains probiotics to your daily diet can help your gut microbiome find the balance it needs to be at its best.