8 Things that Affects Your Gut Health
Having a healthy gut can enhance your immune system function, improve symptoms of depression, help combat obesity, and provide numerous other benefits.
Here are 7 things you can do for your gut health.
1. Stress levels
Chronic high levels of stress are hard on your whole body, including your gut.
Some ways to lower stress may include meditation, walking, getting a massage, spending time with friends or family, diffusing essential oils, decreasing caffeine intake, laughing, yoga, or having a pet.
Not getting enough or sufficient quality of sleep can have serious impacts on your gut health, which can in turn contribute to more sleep issues.
Try to prioritize getting at least 7–8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Your doctor may be able to help if you have trouble sleeping.
Chewing your food thoroughly and eating your meals more slowly, can help promote full digestion and absorption of nutrients. This may help you reduce digestive discomfort and maintain a healthy gut.
Drinking plenty of water has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the mucosal lining of the intestines, as well as on the balance of good bacteria in the gut. Staying hydrated is a simple way to promote a healthy gut.
5. Sleep disturbances or constant fatigue
An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue. The majority of the body’s seretonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut.
So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well. Some sleep disturbances have also been linked to risk for fibromyalgia.
6. Skin irritation
Skin conditions like eczema may be related to a damaged gut.
Inflammation in the gut caused by a poor diet or food allergies may cause increased “leaking” of certain proteins out into the body, which can in turn irritate the skin and cause conditions such as eczema.
7. Autoimmune conditions
Medical researchers are continually finding new evidence of the impact of the gut on the immune system.
It’s thought that an unhealthy gut may increase systemic inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system. This can lead to autoimmune diseases where the body attacks itself rather than harmful invaders.
8. Food intolerances
Food intolerances are the result of difficulty digesting certain foods (this is different than a food allergy, which is caused by an immune system reaction to certain foods).
It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality of bacteria in the gut. This can lead to difficulty digesting the trigger foods and unpleasant symptoms such as bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea.
There is some evidence that food allergies may also be related to gut health.