Your Ultimate Guide to Understand and Restore Gut Health Naturally
Did you know that 70 to 80% of your immune cells are in your gut? If you catch every bug on the block, you keep your pharmacy in business by buying cough and cold products. These medications temporarily stop the sniffles, but you’re not addressing the primary source of your recurring illnesses. What is the gut-immune connection, and how do you restore gut health?
What is Gut Health?
Some signs of gut issues are hard to miss, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Celiac Disease, bloating, and constipation. But poor gut health is responsible for far more than digestive conditions.
Your gut consists of several organs, including the large and small intestines. The stomach, gallbladder, liver, and pancreas are also essential components of the gut.
Your gut breaks down food to deliver nutrients to your body, transmits messages to your brain, and fights infections. If your gut isn’t functioning correctly, it creates many problems, such as
- Autoimmune conditions
- Chronic conditions
- Depression, stress, and anxiety
- Sleep disturbances
- Sugar cravings
- Skin problems such as dry skin, rashes, and hives
- Unexplained weight fluctuations
Good gut health relies on a perfect balance of microorganisms and bacteria.
A microbiome refers to microorganisms coexisting in the same place.
Your gut microbiome holds trillions of beneficial fungi, parasites, bacteria, and other microbes. Each of these microorganisms has a specific job. Some break down foods, others produce vitamins, and some protect us against invading germs.
Your body’s microbiome is so important that it is considered an organ, like your liver and kidneys. Maintaining and restoring gut health to maintain your overall health and well-being is crucial.
The Importance of Gut Health
Your gut is so essential to your well-being that every health discipline recognizes it as a critical factor in your health. From Hippocrates to modern research, traditional medicine, and functional medicine, it’s well-established that gut health remains a crucial component of overall good health.
Your gut microbiome impacts
- Energy production
- The immune system
- Vitamin absorption
What Causes Imbalances in Your Gut Microbiome?
Some common causes of gut imbalances are dietary, and others are related to toxins, lifestyle, and medications.
Your dietary choices play a crucial role in your gut’s health. Processed foods and excess sugar disrupt your microbiome. You may accidentally trigger an imbalance by ingesting chemicals and other toxins hiding in foods and drinks.
Eating a wide variety of foods encourages the growth of healthy gut organisms to restore gut health.
Your lifestyle plays a significant role in your gut health. Bad habits, such as smoking, impact your gut’s lining, while poor sleep and stress negatively impact your gut’s flora.
Your gut health relies on quality sleep to remain balanced. Sleep deprivation inhibits the growth of good microorganisms and encourages harmful variations that cause diabetes and weight fluctuations.
High stress levels discourage the growth of good bacteria in your gut, leading to inflammation and sending “emergency” fight or flight signals to the brain.
And lastly, people who drink too much alcohol are at risk for poor gut health. While an occasional glass of red wine increases the production of beneficial microbes, consistent alcohol use increases gas production, disrupts your digestive system, and causes dehydration. All of these conditions lead to inhibited production of your gut’s “good stuff.”
Some of the biggest culprits of an unbalanced gut microbiome are antibiotics. Traditionally, antibiotics were given for every malady, from a sore throat to viral infections. What’s been discovered more recently, however, is that most commonly prescribed antibiotics are useless for viral infections such as the cold or flu.
Antibiotics aren’t picky when destroying bacteria, and they kill both beneficial microbes and unwelcome visitors alike. Since good bacteria aids in fighting the bad, taking unnecessary antibiotics complicates illnesses and lowers your body’s immune system.
Other enemies of gut health restoration include NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen sodium, laxatives, antacids, and even prescription medications like antidepressants and cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins.
How to Restore Gut Health Naturally
The good news is it’s possible to restore gut health with simple dietary and lifestyle modifications.
Watch What You Eat
Modifying your diet is one of the most beneficial ways to restore gut health. Steer clear of packaged, processed foods full of sugars. Opt for diverse menus full of whole foods and fiber, and increase your fruits and vegetables. Fermented foods, including yogurt, contain beneficial bacteria like lactobacilli that help improve your gut health. But read your labels carefully; some flavored yogurts are high in sugar content.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics and probiotics encourage the growth of healthy microbes in your gut. Some prebiotics and probiotics are known to reduce cholesterol and insulin, which will help reduce your risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Do a Drug Inventory
If your medicine cabinet looks like a shelf at your favorite pharmacy, you must do an inventory. Do you have multiple over-the-counter pain medications and antacids? If you’re taking these medications frequently, you’re treating your discomfort’s symptoms, not the causes.
Find a functional medicine doctor near you to uncover the root causes of your health issues, including frequent headaches, heartburn, inflammation, and pain.
There are a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle that will make a significant impact on your journey to restore gut health.
- Get better quality sleep
- Stop smoking
- Increase your physical activity
- Find ways to reduce your stress levels
- Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake
Restore Your Gut Health with 5 Journeys
5 Journeys understands the connection between gut health and your well-being. We provide a comprehensive approach to restore gut health from our team of nutritionists to our functional medicine providers, supplements, and customized wellness plans. When you schedule your discovery call, you’re taking the first step in becoming a healthier, more energized, and happier you. Ready to get your personalized road map to health? Let’s get started!