Just How Important is Gut Health for Overall Health? (Hint: Very!)
Everyone is looking for a cure for what ails them. If you were to poll 10 people on the street about their health you would probably hear that most people have an array of aches, pains, ailments, illness, diseases and other health-related problems. What is interesting about that is that those 10 people may be in a variety of health states with some working out consistently and eating a somewhat healthy diet and others being relatively sedentary and eating a consistent diet of fast food. So, why do people tend to have an array of health issues in spite of differing health backgrounds? For the answer, you might just have to do a bit of a ‘gut check.’
Your gut health is an incredibly important component of your overall health. You may not realize it but if your gut health is lackluster, you may be feeling aches and pains in other areas of your body as a result! Harvard Health Publishing notes just how important gut health is to your body’s overall health, “Within those trillions of gut bacteria are about 1,000 different species, represented by some 5,000 distinct bacterial strains. Everyone’s gut microbiota is unique, but there are certain combinations and collections of bacteria that are found in healthy individuals. The main factors that affect your personal microbial mix are age, diet, environment, genes, and medications (particularly exposure to antibiotics, which can deplete gut bacteria). Your gut microbiota plays many roles. It metabolizes nutrients from food and certain medications, serves as a protective barrier against intestinal infections, and produces vitamin K, which helps make blood-clotting proteins. But the gut microbiota may do much more. Most research has involved only preliminary animal studies; however, initial findings suggest gut bacteria may be the key to preventing or treating some diseases.” Harvard Medical School goes on to note that gut health may have a connection to rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and immune system health.
Your gut health is exceptionally important and, fortunately, there are things you can do to support a healthy gut or heal your gut. One of the best places to start with gut health is your diet. Eating a diet rich in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and tempeh will provide your gut with healthy bacteria. It is also important to eat a healthy and diverse diet filled with vegetables and fruits. Getting plenty of fiber is important because it can help clean out your gut. If you need additional probiotics, your naturopathic doctor may suggest the addition of a probiotic supplement to support gut health. In addition to diet, it is important that you do not overuse antibiotics which can eliminate healthy bacteria from your gut and disrupt overall gut health. Further, be careful about your exposure to antibacterial cleaners. Many chemical antibacterial cleaners are not only harsh and harmful to your health because of their link to things like asthma and potentially cancer but they can also deplete your body’s exposure to healthy bacteria and diminish gut health. By taking action now you can begin to heal your gut and experience better overall health.