IntroductionOur stomach plays a very important role in our overall health. Healthy gut does not only mean effective digestion and free from discomforts like heart burn, constipation, bloating etc. Gut is absolutely central to health. It is associated as well as very well connected to all the functions taking place in the body. Fix the gut and achieve optimum health is a secret very well known since ages and thus it was popularly said "All diseases begin in the gut". Once gut health improves i.e., once it is fixed, overall health too improves drastically. Gut troubles wreak havoc in the entire body which results in various allergies, arthritis, acne, autism, cancer, rashes and even autoimmune diseases.
Gut health will determine overall health or illnessHealth of our gut itself is responsible to determine what all nutrients will get absorbed. Inefficient absorption causes deficiencies and consequently gives rise to illnesses. Gut health will decide which all toxins, allergens and microbes should be allowed in body and which should be kept out. Imagine what if unfriendly microbes are allowed and this all happening due to bad health of gut. Efficient gut health will help in weight loss and also has impact on everything whether it is mood, memory or overall health of an individual.
Gut healthIntestinal flora which acts as a barrier will determine gut health. If gut barrier is healthy then it will help overall gut health and if it not healthy then gut health too deteriorates and overall immune system gets compromised. Good gut health will efficiently absorb all the nutrients from foods and fluids we consume. There will be no overgrowth of bacteria. Digestive related troubles like diarrhea, bloating, constipation, abdominal cramps, discomforts in stomach, gas etc do not develop. Stool consistency too remains normal. Bowel movements and bowel habits are kept very regular. Inflammation or irritation of lining of gut does not develop and as a result there will be no signs of inflammatory bowel diseases. Acid production in stomach remains normal and thus there will be no signs of heart burn or other sorts of gastric or inflammatory disease. Serotonin production also remains balanced.
Importance of healthy gutHealth of our gut is closely linked with various health related complications which develop in our body. Anxiety and depression which we believe to be occurring in mind, lethargy and fatigue which we closely associate with deprived levels of energy in body as well are all influenced by our digestion. Even our immune power is associated with our gut health. Our body's different systems work together and in fact very closely and thus has effect on one another which we are not very aware of. This working together will maintain optimal health. When one system is off, it can cause series of complications in body. One such system which is responsible for overall health is our digestive system. Bad gut health does not only mean digestion related troubles, but also exerts powerful impact on nervous system, hormonal health and even immune system. If immunity is compromised, how far will overall health remain in good shape.
Bugs in our gutThere is presence of a diverse ecosystem in our gut which is formed by bugs. There is presence of almost 500 species of bacteria's which weighs almost 300 pounds. It is like a rain forest and these gut bacteria all are friendly ones which brings good health to gut as well as to entire body. Balance of this ecosystem should be maintained. Sometimes, destruction of friendly ones and increase in number of harmful parasites and yeasts will cause serious damage to the health. These bacteria helps in easy digestion, removes toxins, keeps hormones in normal levels and also produces vitamins. We have more bacteria in our guts when compared with number of cells present in our body. Increased number of beneficial bacteria will reduce anxiety, stress and depression.
Gut-immune systemToxins present in gut is prevented from entering rest of the body. Our immune system and body is protected from these toxins as there is presence of a barrier in the form of a lining which is only one cell-thick layer. This lining if somehow becomes damaged then immune system becomes compromised and overactive. This overactive immune system will cause inflammation in the whole body. Digestion will totally get impaired if this barrier is disrupted. Gut health thus is essential as it protects immune system and also filters good molecules from bad ones and prevents food sensitivities.
Gut's nervous systemOur digestive system contains more number of neurotransmitters than our brain and thus gut's nervous system can also be referred to as second brain. Gut's nervous system is known as "enteric nervous system". Our gut-brain and head-brain communicates with each other and if this communication is interfered then health deteriorates. Gut is rich source of neurotransmitters and neuro-peptides. Serotonin is a brain chemical which influences mood and is found in abundant amount in gut. Serotonin in gut stimulates nerve-cell growth and also sends a warning to immune system regarding germ infiltration. Notifications are constantly sent between gut-brain and head-brain. In times of stress or when nervousness persists, brain sends message to gut and this is when gut churns in response. On the other hand, when gut is upset, it notifies brain even before onset of symptoms. This will cause brain to become anxious. We can only achieve good mental health if our gut lets us to it. This is the reason gut health influences our mood.
Other important functions of gutThe type of food we eat also influences gut health. When it gets metabolized in gut, it hugely exerts effect on brain functioning. When gut enjoys health, so do brain. Beneficial microbes present in gut, works to heal and protect brain over longer period of time. If gut health is compromised, mental health too gets deteriorated and soon an individual has to frequently suffer form issues like headaches, depression, ADHD, dementia etc. Gut health also influences mood. Peripheral serotonin which is produced by beneficial bacteria in digestive system has direct impact on mental health. Gut functions also affect thinking skills and memory. Metabolism produces lots of toxins as by-products. These by-products are sent into bile from liver and gut has to get rid of them all. If gut health is not up to the mark like in case of constipation then gut will not be able to get rid of these toxins and the whole body will have to come in contact with these by-products and consequently ill-health will be the result.
ConclusionGut health should be taken seriously if we have to enjoy overall health. Gut is not only limited to digestion and absorption of essential nutrients, but has an impact on everything ranging form mood to memory. Even healthy weight loss requires our gut to be in a healthy state. A healthy gut is one which has adequate amount of serotonin production and in which there is no bacterial overgrowth. There should be a perfect balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria and lining of gut should be completely intact. Absorption of food, water and essential nutrients should take place effectively and toxins need to be efficiently removed. No signs of acid re-flux or any other gastric related diseases should develop. When all these criteria get fulfilled, gut is termed as healthy. More healthy gut is, more healthy will be our physical and mental health.
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