The Gut… Easily influenced
When talking about the gut, whether it be nourishing, healing or protecting it is always important to think holistic. I often hear people express their frustrations that they eat a very healthy diet but still struggle with digestive symptoms, never actually looking at their stress as a major influencer of the digestive symptoms.
Some main influencers of our gut include:
- What and how we eat
- Imbalance of gut microbes
- Stress and emotions
- Intolerances, sensitivities and allergies
Today we will take a sneak peek at these influencers then I will post more in depth on each one soon.
What and how we eat
Of course, we know that what we eat is going to influence our gut, but did you know that specific foods can cause damage to the gut and certain foods nourish and repair the gut? In addition to this, It also not only what we eat but how we eat it. By using the “Rest and Digest” way of eating, allows the body to relax and focus on the task at hand, digesting food properly and absorbing more nutrients from the food. Eating on the run, eating while we are stressed causes a host of issues on the digestive system.
Occupants and Integrity
It is a well-known fact these days that we all have both “good” and “bad” bacteria within our digestive tract and that a healthy balance needs to be maintained. The problem, many peoples gut microbes are out of balance due to illnesses, infections, antibiotic use and poor diet. An imbalance of gut microbes can influence a person’s overall immunity, mental health, and persistent digestive disturbances. But this is only one part of the picture. We also have digestive enzymes, essential for optimal breakdown and absorption of nutrients that oftentimes are lacking due to age, poor diets, cooking methods and genetic factors. The integrity of the gut lining is also essential for absorbing nutrients and optimal digestion, although many people have a damaged gut lining from reactions, sensitivities, antibiotic use, and infections to name a few.
Stress and Emotional strain
The gut is very sensitive to emotions and stress as the gut and brain are linked and closely interact. You know the feeling of nausea when you are anxious or butterflies when you’re nervous? This is called the gut-brain connection. It is important to know that the brain and gut are in constant communication, sending signals both ways. Therefore, you cannot separate the two, the gut is directly influencing a person’s mood etc while a person’s brain is directly influencing the body’s ability to digest properly and may be causing gastrointestinal symptoms.
While we know that the health of the gut plays a major role in disease, studies (1) have also shown that a diseased state can negatively influence the gut health of the person. Whether it is due to the medication, changes in bowel and eating habits or just the direct influence of the disease state. So, as you can see it is the chicken and the egg scenario, which came first the poor gut health that influenced the health of the person (disease) or the disease that negatively influenced the gut. Either way, if you have other health problems going on you can guarantee there is some gut work to be done.
Intolerances, allergies and sensitivities
The digestive system is constantly coming in contact with a wide variety of substances. For some of us, these substances our bodies do not like, and can react to not only causing a host of digestive symptoms such as cramping, bloating, diarrhoea but also can cause damage to the gut.
Food intolerances, allergies and sensitivities are not the same thing, although can be hard to differentiate between. In a later post I will share how to tell the difference and what we can do, so that they don’t need to become a constant hindrance.
Studies (2) have shown exercise to greatly enhance the number and diversity of beneficial microbial species. Doing regular exercise is greatly beneficial, but it is also worth noting that when doing excess exercise, for example training for a marathon, this can take its toll on the gut and therefore should be something that we are aware of to support when training.
Understand: It is not just what we eat that affects our gut, it’s affected by how we eat and how we live our life. Therefore, to heal the gut, our approach has to be holistic, looking at every part of our lives and fixing those up to.
Love Alissa ❤
**Always read the label. Follow the Directions for Use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. This medicine may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase.**