These 4 Things Are Putting Your Gut Health At Risk
As more and more research is done involving the mysterious gut, many new things are being discovered. First of all, according to Dr. Gerard Mullin, MD and author of The Gut Balance Revolution, “The gut is one of the controlling influencers of the body.” Our gut is connected to the rest of our entire body. Your gut health affects many other parts of your body that you wouldn’t guess.
Just because you don’t suffer from Crohn’s Disease, heartburn, or even stomachaches definitely doesn’t mean that your gut is in perfect health. If you find yourself getting the flu often, feeling angry or depressed, struggling with weight gain, allergies, and more, doctors are now suggesting that you should first take a look at your gut health.
Why? Because all the above conditions can occur as a result of poor gut health. In the past, people would turn to other remedies to cure those conditions but today, with new and improved information, we are finding it is best to first check your gut before grabbing for those antibiotics.
The Importance of Your Gut Health
Did you know that our bodies are filled with bacteria? In fact, there is more bacteria in our bodies than there are cells. Crazy, right?! The gut is home to a huge portion of the body’s bacteria, and thankfully, most of that bacteria, if you’re healthy, comes in the form of good bacteria, called probiotics. You’ve likely heard the term “probiotics” and know that probiotics exist in foods such as yogurt, but you may not know why probiotics are so important. Here are just a few of the many purposes that probiotics serve in your body. They help:
- Absorb nutrients
- Break down medication
- Kill bad bacteria
- Digest food
How You’re Risking Your Gut Health
This seems a bit contradictory. We take medicine to feel better, so how can it cause us to feel worse? When you feel like you’re starting to come down with something, what’s the first thing you do? Likely, you reach for some sort of pain medication, or head to the doctor, who will likely prescribe you antibiotics.
However, what you likely don’t know is that by taking medication such as antibiotics, pain medication, acid-blockers and many others, you are weakening your body’s ability to naturally fight off illnesses. Of course there are some exceptions to this with which there is no option but to take what your doctor prescribes you, but there are situations in which you are better off not taking any medication.
In order to know how to properly combat illnesses that come your way, it is a good idea for you to meet with your doctor to determine what probiotics and digestive enzymes you may need to get your gut health back on track. We are betting that once you have your gut back to a healthy place, you won’t be suffering from getting sick like you were before, and won’t have a need or reason to reach into your medicine cabinet.
2. Food Sensitivities
Though people are becoming more aware of food sensitivities, and “gluten free” and “soy free” are labels we see more and more everyday, you may think that these sensitivities only exist for people who suffer from Celiac or other big-time food issues.
The truth is, however, that food sensitivities can manifest themselves in other ways that may not be as obvious to you as someone who is hospitalized whenever they eat a piece of bread. You may have a lower-level sensitivity to gluten and not be aware of it. It may cause you to feel tired all the time, depressed, or suffer from digestive issues. However that food sensitivity may be coming to life in your body, one thing is clear: your gut health is off.
So how do you determine what food may be causing your gut, and thus other parts of your body problems? In order to find what foods are causing you problems, you will need to put yourself on the elimination diet. This diet calls for you to cut the seven foods that most commonly cause problems for 21 days. Those seven foods are:
- Sugars of any kind
Once you’ve given your body the 21 days necessary to clear all those currently-existing things in your body, you can begin reintroducing the items one by one back into your diet, and keep track of how you feel. You’ll want to pay particular attention to your weight, your energy levels, and any symptoms you’re feeling. Anything that drags your gut down is something you should permanently remove from your diet.
3. Long-Term Stress
Stress is no stranger to any of us. We have all struggled with stress at one time or another. A quickly approaching work deadline, a traffic jam making us late, money problems, the list goes on. However, for some, that stress is never-ending.
With the glorification of leading a busy life that exists in today’s world, many people are feeling the effects of that on-the-go lifestyle in the stress that never seems to leave their bodies. And, as you likely guessed, stress can have some seriously negative effects on your gut health, which then causes a domino effect of problems. Stress causes the neurons in your gut to change and quit producing digestive enzymes, which puts you at higher risk of coming down with something. Stress also causes you to lose sleep, and to make poor decisions in regards to your diet, which makes your stress even worse. It’s a vicious cycle.
However, there is good news — that cycle can be broken. By finding ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life, you can get your gut health back on track. Some ideas of how to cut down on your stress include:
- Slowing down
4. Sugar Consumption
Today, the average American consumes 152 pounds of sugar a year. Though many of us try and watch the amount of sugar we consume, the scary fact is that sugar is hidden in many foods. Here are some of the foods you think may be healthy, that are in fact packed with sugar:
- Fruit yogurt
- Granola bars
- Pasta sauce
- Dried fruit
Eating too much sugar can lead to a slew of health issues, but they all start with the gut being off. Too much sugar leads your gut to produce bad bacteria instead of good, and also yeast. Having yeast and too much bad bacteria in your gut leads to inflammation and long-term bigger issues such as food intolerances, vitamin deficiencies, allergies, and much more.
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