For the past few years, scientists have tirelessly worked to discover the mysteries found in the human digestive system.
Today, the digestive tract is more than just a pipe that connects where people intake food and where they excrete waste. Instead, it’s a complex environment that houses trillions of bacteria that can either positively or negatively affect a person’s quality of life.
These microorganisms in the gut have gained some traction not only in the medical community but also in individuals who are continually looking for ways to improve their health.
The discovery of gut flora increased the demand for microbiome tests to identify how balanced a person’s gut health is. You can even order this test online from My Psomagen and perform the test at home.
Interested in learning more about your gut health?
Read on to discover the signs of an unhealthy gut and what you can do to drive harmful bacteria away and promote a better quality of life.
Why Your Gut Health Matters
Believe it or not, your body houses more bacteria than cells. In fact, hundreds of trillions of bacteria live inside your body, and they’re mainly located in your gut. These microorganisms help you digest food properly, so your body can absorb the nutrients it needs.
But more than breaking down nutrients in your food, these hosts of bacteria also work to optimize other systems in your body to maintain your physical and mental well-being.
Microorganisms in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract—also referred to as the gut microbiome—consist of good and bad bacteria.
Healthy bacteria are responsible for breaking down food, boosting immunity, and maintaining equilibrium in your GI tract.
An abundance of good bacteria in the gut prevents the harmful bacteria from multiplying and dominating your body. A balanced and healthy gut microbiome has also been associated with improving emotions and brain processes.
On the other hand, harmful bacterial is responsible for increasing your chances of developing chronic diseases.
In fact, studies have found that the abundance of certain harmful bacteria in the gut may cause heart ailments, high cholesterol levels, Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
For this reason, keeping a balanced gut microbiome is essential in maintaining not only a healthy gut but also your overall health.
The question now is, what can you do to improve and balance the bacteria found in your gut?
Signs Of An Unhealthy Gut
For the most part, having an unhealthy gut can be easy to spot, especially when you’re experiencing physical symptoms, like gastric problems and skin irritations.
However, a person may experience signs of an unhealthy gut without them knowing it. Some of the leading causes of having an unhealthy gut are high-stress levels, inadequate sleep, overeating processed and high-sugar diets, and taking antibiotics.
So, if you’re worried about an unbalanced gut microbiome, here are some of the signs you should watch out for:
A healthy gut promotes better digestion and waste elimination. If you frequently experience constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, or feeling bloated and gassy, you may have an unhealthy gut.
Increased Sugar Cravings
You may be already aware that forming the habit of eating sugary foods can be a vicious cycle that’s difficult to escape.
In fact, eating a diet rich in processed foods and refined sugars can reduce the level of good bacteria found in your digestive tract. When this occurs, you’ll experience more sugar cravings that can further damage your gut microbiome.
Sudden Weight Change
Since the good bacteria in your gut help digest food, an imbalance in the gut flora can harm the ability of the body to store fat, regulate, blood sugar, and absorb nutrients.
When these processes are disrupted, gaining or losing weight may occur without changing your diet or exercise routine.
Serotonin, a hormone in charge of regulating a person’s mood and sleep, is produced in the body’s digestive tract. Whenever imbalances or disruptions occur in the digestive tract, serotonin production is affected as well.
If you’re constantly feeling tired or having difficulty sleeping or staying asleep, you may have an unhealthy GI tract.
Certain skin conditions such as eczema and acne may be another sign of an unhealthy gut. Poor diet and food allergies can cause inflammation in the abdomen resulting in the leaking of proteins out of the body through the skin.
A food intolerance occurs when a person’s digestive system has difficulty digesting a specific food source. Your body needs a fair amount of good bacteria in order to break down certain foods effectively.
When your gut is rich in bad bacteria, it becomes harder to digest food sources, thus developing food intolerances.
Knowing these signs, how do you exactly improve the health and maintain the equilibrium of your gut? The best course of action to improve gut health is changing your diet and developing healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep and exercising.
In terms of food intake, incorporating probiotics and pre-biotics in your diet is an excellent way to promote a healthy gut.
Probiotics are live microorganisms found in your body. They’re also common in fermented foods. Some of the foods rich in probiotics include:
On the other hand, prebiotics refers to fibers and healthy sugars found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which act as food sources for your digestive microbiome.
Familiar prebiotic food sources include:
As you can see, keeping a well-balanced digestive health is no different than living a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating a diet rich in fibrous fruits and vegetables, as well as probiotic foods, can boost the level of good bacteria in your gut.
To achieve the best results, try to get as much as 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.
Develop the habit of engaging in physical activity and exercising regularly. Combining these three is your ticket to a healthy gut and lifestyle.
Lauren Gamble is an author, mompreneur, co-founder of Naturally Made Essentials. She is on a mission to help thousands of women across the world achieve a healthy, happy lifestyle through teaching natural health practices.