Written by Stephanie Mousel
Today we’re taking a dive deep into gut health and exploring why taking care of your gut is more crucial than you might think. As a functional nutrition counselor, my hope is to help you understand the importance of gut health and how it can transform your overall well-being.
Understanding Your Gut
Your gut is more than just your stomach and intestines; it's an entire system responsible for processing everything you eat, drink and digest. It also includes your liver and gallbladder, which play significant roles in metabolism and digestion. To put it simply, it's the foundation of your body's internal ecosystem.
Signs of a Healthy Gut
Indicators of optimal gut health include a healthy appetite, smooth digestion with no discomfort, having 2-3 bowel movements per day, the ability to maintain a healthy weight, a lack of food sensitivities, a lack of chronic health conditions, a calm/positive mood and clear-headed thinking.
Why Gut Health Is Important
Microbiome Magic: The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms that make up your microbiome. The microbes in your gut play a vital role in digestion, nutrient absorption, and even mood regulation. There are good guys and bad guys and you want to ensure that you have the right balance. An imbalance is referred to as “dysbiosis” and science is showing that the balance and diversity in your gut and the foods that we eat are critical to health.
Immune Headquarters: Did you know that 70% or more of your immune system resides in your gut? A well-maintained gut helps protect your body from harmful invaders and keeps your immune defenses in top-notch shape. The gut dysbiosis we just spoke about can dysregulate immune responses, causing inflammation, oxidative stress and insulin resistance. Over time, chronic dysbiosis affects the protective layer of the gut and once that is breached, may increase type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, autoimmune disease and a variety of cancers.2
Neurotransmitter Nexus: The gut is a hub for neurotransmitter production, which are associated with happiness and well-being. If you’ve ever felt nauseous in a situation or “butterflies” in your stomach, then you can begin to see the connection between the gut-brain axis. This connection goes both ways and can play a role in mental health and digestion. Things like stress and nutrition affect this connection and friendly bacteria produce important feel-good chemicals, like dopamine, serotonin and GABA, while nasty bacteria can alter neurotransmitter levels.3 A happy gut can lead to a happier you!
Medical Conditions Associated with Poor Gut Health
Unfortunately, when your gut isn't in optimal shape, it can lead to a host of health issues, including:
Acid Reflux, IBS, Gas, Bloating
Chrohn's and Colitis
Seasonal Allergies and Food Sensitivities
Type 2 Diabetes/Insulin Resistance
Brain Issues, including Alzheimer's/dementia, autism, ADHD, anxiety/depression, cancer and migraines.
How Functional Nutrition Addresses These Issues
Functional nutrition takes a look at the interconnections of the body to address these concerns. It involves assessing your individual health, identifying root causes, and tailoring dietary and lifestyle changes to promote a healthy gut. This personalized approach can be a game-changer in managing and even preventing various health conditions. When you work with me, we work on stomach acid, address infections and motility, quality bile production, eliminate inflammation, balance blood sugar and ultimately incorporate nutritional choices that will move the needle to improve the condition that affects you.
Gut health is foundational to one’s overall health. As a functional nutrition counselor, I am here to guide you toward a healthier, happier gut. By understanding the significance of gut health and taking action, we can work together and restore optimal function. Call Stephanie at Rootology Functional Nutrition Counseling, 402-366-7978, or e-mail at email@example.com to schedule an appointment today!