Let’s talk about your gut. Not the most glamorous topic but it’s an area that’s becoming increasingly important. Why? The more scientists research this field, the more they discover how important the gut is, not just to our digestive health but to our immunity, our energy levels, our skin condition and, surprisingly, to our mental health. Before we dive into how we can be kind to our gut, let’s break down how the gut works and the impact it has on our daily lives.
What is the gut?
The gut is the entire 9-metre long gastrointestinal tract, which begins at the entry point of food, the oesophagus, and goes right through the entire body to the end point where it ejects whatever’s left after the digestive process is complete.
So after we chew our food (slowly and into small pieces!), the food heads down into the stomach where it gets churned up, then the small intestine breaks down this mixture (let’s call it chyme, cause that’s its scientific name) into smaller molecules so the body can absorb super-important nutrients. After this job is done, the large intestine converts the leftovers into you know what.
Gut & mental health
But on top of all this food processing work, our gastrointestinal tract also houses the enteric nervous system (ENS), which people now call the body’s “second brain”. It sits inside the wall of the gut and acts as the hormone police, keeping our whole body in check 24/7.
The ENS produces and regulates our production of serotonin, the “feel good” hormone. Plus, every kind of neurotransmitter in our bodies resides in the gut. In fact the gut has more neurotransmitters than in our brain. Oh, and the small intestine houses as many neurons as our spinal cord!
So if your gut is irritated or not working to its full capacity, the usual production of serotonin is disrupted and neurotransmitters don’t work properly, all of which can impact negatively on your mental health.
Gut & disease
The gut is also intrinsically linked to our immunity. Did you know about 75% of our immune system lives inside the gut? If pesky toxins or adverse guests make their way into our stomach acid, they come into contact with our immune system inside our gut. And if the gut’s not fighting fit, it can’t go into battle against these unwanted toxins and illness rears its ugly head.
In order for the digestive system to be at its best, the body’s supergroup of bacteria, viruses and fungi, let’s call this motely crew the gut “microbiome”, must live in a very diverse yet harmonious digestive “garden”. Ideally, this garden is made up of both good and bad bugs in order to thrive and do its job beautifully. These jobs include helping the body break down indigestible food, absorb nutrients into the bloodstream and make sure the immune system is working well.
So what happens when the microbiome garden is out of whack? All kinds of trouble, from illness and fatigue, through to obesity, diabetes, mental health issues and irritable bowel syndrome.
Can you see how important it is to maintain good gut health? At The Well Store we believe in ensuring we take care of our bodies, inside and out. Here are a few ways to promote good gut health and what to do when the first signs of not-so-good gut health appear, such as diarrhea, tummy pain, continuous illness and fatigue.
4 Tips for good gut health
- Go easy on hygiene!
Yes, it’s important to be clean, but over the last few decades we’ve become obsessed with hygiene. We clean everything! Parents carry antibacterial hand wash in their handbags and kids never play in the dirt. Our bodies crave all the bacteria there is to balance our gut garden, so try not to be hyperactive on the hygiene front. A little dirt never hurt anyone (in fact it probably did wonders for them…)
- Balance the bacteria
Our modern-day obsession with antibiotics has caused all kinds of pain for our poor tummies. Yes, when our child has an angry-red infected throat, call in the antibiotics. But remember, these super-medicines kill not just the bad germs but the good ones, too. So harmonise the balance of good and bad bacteria by taking probiotics.
Plus, a great way of restoring order to your tummy is to take the Supercharged Food Golden Gut Blend and Heal Your Gut Powder – both powders restore balance to your digestive garden but also boost immunity, energy and overall health.
What about from the outside in? When used on the body, Earths Purities Bentonite Clay Drink Body & Bath extracts toxins, chemicals and impurities from the gut, skin and mouth. It also replenishes nutrients, thanks to an abundance of minerals like calcium, magnesium, silica, sodium, copper, iron and potassium. When taken as a supplement, these vitamins and minerals are absorbed.
- Drink more water
Chances are none of us is drinking enough water. One of the simplest pleasures in life offers enormous benefits! Water re hydrates our bodies, assists with fibre absorption and encourages the contents of your digestive system to keep moving in the right direction (that would be down, down…). So experts recommend Aussie women drink about 2 litres (that’s about eight regular cups) of water a day.
I like to move, it move it – make this your mantra. The more you move, the more your colon (or large intestine) works to its full capacity. Exercise kick starts this organ into a fine working machine. A recent Swedish study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology showed that people who exercised three to five times a week for 12 weeks had significant improvement in IBS symptoms; non-exercisers didn’t see the same benefits. But being active has no downsides – it speeds up your metabolism, burns fat and generally promotes great health for a long happy life!
Love your gut, it will love you back!
Be well x