How is your gut feeling?
Our inner microbiome (gut) affects our total wellbeing, from hunger pangs to chronic illnesses, stress and sadness.
It is now well known that gut health is crucial to our overall wellbeing. It is also connected to everything that happens in our bodies. The trillions of bacteria that live in our gut affect our health, our mood and our weight. In a way these microbes work together to form what can be regarded as an extra internal organ and play a huge role in our health.
“Your gut is the centre of your being – it digests and assimilates nutrients from the food you eat”, says wellness expert Robyn Youkilis
Most of your immune system actually resides in your gut and the gut plays an important role in your mood. Robyn had discovered in her practice as a health coach, that healing the gut resolved many of her clients’ health issues, even the most stubborn.
Poor gut health can lead to digestive issues, such as abdominal pain, bloating, reflux and flatulence and other complaints. including fatigue, joint pain, headaches and even skin problems. Robyn says depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability and poor concentration are now also being linked to the gut’s microbiome. Other more serious illnesses and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even cancer have been linked to an imbalanced microbiome .
The gut has also even been referred to as a “second brain” because it contains millions of neurones which are sensitive to emotion. Our brain and our gut are, in fact, connected by an extensive network of neurones, chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback to and from the brain. These signals carry information about how hungry we are, stress, sadness or even anger. Have you ever felt a sinking feeling in your gut when something happens that you were dreading? That’s the brain – gut connection in action. The emotion is triggering a reaction in your gut.
The connection can be a two-way street as tummy troubles will impact on our mood and happiness. Serotonin is responsible for good mood and it is estimated that 90% of your serotonin is made in your digestive track and production of this important chemical is reliant on health gut bacteria.
Research suggest that gut bacteria can alter the way that our bodies store fat as well as our response to hormones, making us feel hungry or full. Contrary to popular option, it’s not what your eat, or the number of calories you consume, that’s important, but how your body is using what you eat. You might be eating nutritious whole foods most of the time but still feel foggy, uninspired and generally less than your sparkling best. This is probably because your gut is not in good shape… not properly absorbing all the vitamins and nutrients from your food. This means that your cells don’t have the fuel they need to carry out their role in absorbing and assimilating nutrients from your food.
Sources of gut-friendly nutrients…
Sauerkraut (fermented food)
By Liz McGrath
Read more about maintaining good health