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GUT HEALTH SERIES - PART 2

by Nicole van Heerden on July 19, 2020

 House of health - Gut Series: Part 2

 

Gut Health Series: Breaking It Down

What does a healthy gut look like?

If you are looking for a definite answer – you have come to the wrong place. As I have mentioned before, scientists do not actually know what a healthy microbiome looks like (in terms of the specifics and the quantities of each type of bacteria), however what we do know is that a diverse microbiome is a healthy one. If this is the first time you are reading this please go do yourself a favour and have a look at the first gut health blog.

What is the point of this blog? Well, as I said above a healthy gut/ microbiome is in fact one that is diverse. So to keep this short (the upcoming blogs of this series will have more detailed explanations), studies show that what we all should know is that dietary fibre is so important for the functioning of gut (Holscher, 2017), but what is relatively new information is that dietary fibre from plants is in fact the most beneficial for the gut as it is more diverse (Cui et al., 2019). Please note that I am not telling you to become a vegetarian or vegan in order to have a healthy gut. I don’t believe in restriction of any kind, all that I want you to take from this is that plants have so many incredible benefits for our gut and overall health! So do yourself a favour and have a few more plants a day (fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains) or try incorporate one meatless meal a week which is not only beneficial for your gut (and bank account), it is so important for the environment – it is simply a win-win.

This might all be a little confusing, as the title of this blog is “What does a healthy gut look like?” and then in the first line I tell you that scientist don’t know. But what we do know is the impact of the gut and from that impact they have been able to devise a list of “signs” that you can visibly see or notice to be able to tell if your gut is healthy or not. Now I don’t know about you but sometimes it’s easier to see if you have a unhappy gut rather than a happy gut, so without further adieu – here are some of the ways that you can tell if you have a healthy gut or not (Bischoff, 2011):

  1. Digestion: This is seen in recurring bloating; increased gas (normal amounts are a good sign, as the gut releases gas as a by-product of digesting food); diarrhoea; constipation and acid reflux to name a few. It is important here to note that these are common symptoms for other conditions – what is important is that you avoid treating the symptoms and work with your GP to find the root cause of the symptoms.
  2. Mind: We spoke a bit about the gut-brain axis last week as well asin the stress and anxiety blog series, but essentially studies are showing that depression, brain fog and even anxiety are linked to poor gut health. The gut essentially plays an important role in mood regulation
  3. Skin: This is a controversial one, but studies are showing that acne and eczema are a sign of an unhealthy gut.
  4. Weight: The gut microbiome is essential with regards to regulating body weight as it essentially ‘controls’ your metabolic rate and it regulates you appetite.
  5. Vitamins & Minerals: It is important to know that the gut plays a vital role in the production of vitamins, and so when the gut is not “happy” this process is essentially disturbed. Some common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are Magnesium; Vitamin K; Vitamin B (specifically 7 & 12) and Vitamin D (Hills et al., 2019).
  6. Immunity & Autoimmune Diseases: The gut microbiome plays an essential role in building and maintaining the immune system – easiest way to tell is if you are constantly feeling fatigued and battle to get over a cold (Hills et al., 2019). An autoimmune disease is when the body attacks itself (in lay-man’s terms). Studies are showing that improved gut health can in fact improve the symptoms experienced (Hills et al., 2019).

 

So there you have it, a little insight into a healthy gut. If you liked this blog please leave a comment below or share it on Instagram and don’t forget to tag us! Have a happy & healthy day xxx

  

DISCLAIMER:

This blog post in no way aims to provide medical or psychological advice. It merely aims to provide some understanding of the role of the gut in the  body. This is based on the writers opinion and research.

 

References

  • Bischoff, S. (2011). 'Gut health': a new objective in medicine?. BMC Medicine, 9(1), 24.

doi: 10.1186/1741-7015-9-24

  • Cui, J., Lian, Y., Zhao, C., Du, H., Han, Y., & Gao, W. et al. (2019). Dietary Fibers from Fruits and

Vegetables and Their Health Benefits via Modulation of Gut Microbiota. Comprehensive Reviews In Food Science And Food Safety, 18(5), 1514-1532. doi: 10.1111/1541-4337.12489

  • Hills, R., Pontefract, B., Mishcon, H., Black, C., Sutton, S., & Theberge, C. (2019). Gut Microbiome:

Profound Implications for Diet and Disease. Nutrients, 11(7), 1613. doi: 10.3390/nu11071613

  • Holscher, H. (2017). Dietary fiber and prebiotics and the gastrointestinal microbiota. 

Gut Microbes, 8(2), 172-184. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2017.1290756

 

 

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