'Gut health for energy, immunity and feeling good'
Is self-care high on your list of priorities this year? However, you choose to improve your wellness, taking holistic care of your mind and body might be more vital than you think. Three of the cornerstones of wellness—nutrition, exercise and sleep—all come back to your gut.
Your gut is more than just your stomach: it’s also an endocrine organ (like the thyroid or adrenal glands), secreting hormones that travel to other parts of your body to regulate metabolism, support immunity, regulate your sleep cycle and provide energy. When we consider this, in addition to its role in digestion and efficiently absorbing nutrients from food, it can be regarded as the headquarters of the human body—so keeping stress to a minimum and nutrition optimal is essential to our health.
What is the gut microbiome?
The gut microbiome is the network of 100 trillion bacteria that live in your intestines—and it's linked to everything from cognitive function to mental health. Research shows that what we eat directly impacts the population of microorganisms—and how they behave influences our health for better or worse.
Did you know that the gut is actually the second brain?
It’s true. The gut produces an estimated 90% of the body’s “feel-good hormones” serotonin and 50% of its dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters that regulate mood. The gut also produces gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which plays a key role in communication between your gut and your brain—known as the gut-brain axis.
How does gut health affect our overall health?
The gut-brain axis or connection refers to the two-way line of communication between your gastrointestinal tract (gut) and brain. There are many well-known sayings that reference this, such as “gut feelings”, “butterflies in your stomach”, “gut instincts”, “a nervous belly” and “it takes guts”. So connected are these organs that not only can inflammatory issues like indigestion and bloating cause brain fog and depression but anxiety and stress can also cause IBS flare-ups. This is why it’s important to take care of both your gut health and mental health since they influence each other.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts, known as the “good bacteria” in your gut due to their positive role in digestion, immunity and inflammation. “Bad bacteria” are known as pathogens, which can cause disease when the gut is out of balance. Probiotics can help to restore harmony, especially when paired with prebiotics such as artichokes, asparagus and bananas which feed the probiotic bacteria.
How can I improve my gut health?
Eating a diverse range of foods helps to improve the diversity of your gut microbiome. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut, or yoghurt. It’s also important to also eat fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables along with whole grains like quinoa and brown rice, which help to regulate bowel movements, control blood sugar levels for better energy and keep you fuller for longer. Hydration is also essential alongside fibre to prevent constipation so make sure you’re drinking water regularly throughout the day.
Can fasting improve my gut health?
ProLon’s ReSet 1-Day Fasting Kit and 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet offer excellent opportunities to rebalance your gut. Not only do they allow your gut to rest from digesting heavy meals, but they’re free from wheat, gluten and dairy which can sometimes trigger bloating, cramps or other irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Intermittent fasting can reduce pathogenic bacteria and promote the growth of good bacteria, helping to reduce inflammation and promote rejuvenation and repair throughout the body.