“Gut health is the key to overall health”- Kris Carr
Your gut, also known as the second brain has millions of bacteria inside it, ten times more than the human cells in the body. These bacteria also known as the gut microbiome is responsible for carrying out some major functions like production of the majority of Hormones, enzymes, neurotransmitters, and immunological factors are released in the gut and hence gut function has now been linked to normal central nervous system (CNS) function.
Gut microbiome also plays a major role in how the food is digested and absorbed in the body. This explains the fact that around 70 percent of the immune system lies in the gut and gut bacteria helps in developing the immune system teaching them the difference between a foreign substance and the body’s own tissues. And if there’s an imbalance in gut bacteria, for instance, if there is an overgrowth of bad bacteria, it can lead your body’s immune system to start attacking your own cells, the hallmark of autoimmune disorders. Poor gut health is often associated with the development of various lifestyle diseases like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, abnormal cholesterol levels.
The connection between gut health and mood has also been known for some time, as individuals suffering from gut health issues are more likely to also suffer from autoimmune diseases and mental issues such as depression and anxiety. Symptoms related to poor gut health can be as obvious as abdominal pain, bloating after meals, reflux, or flatulence, but also less obvious like headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and immune system weakness.
Research has shown that when the gut is irritated or inflamed, which usually happens when the body is trying to digest foods that are overly processed or that it has a sensitivity to, the ENS (Enteric Nervous System) signals the body’s CNS (Central Nervous System), which can then trigger mood changes. The type of food that a body processes can have a hugely positive effect on the functions of the brain. And when the gut is healthy, then the brain is happier. Certain microbes found in the gut can work to help heal and protect the brain in the long-term.
However, the average diet of the majority of people nowadays is filled with processed, sugary, and fatty foods, the gut becomes damaged over time and therefore less functional. My22BMI believes that the diets that are filled with simple carbohydrates and gluten are damaging to the whole body as well as the brain, as they allow bad bacteria in the gut to grow exponentially. This type of gut-damaging diet has been linked to mental health issues ranging from headaches and ADHD to depression and dementia.
Traditional diets around the world and in India have typically included raw and fermented foods which lead to the development of beneficial bacteria within the foods. From yogurt to dosa and idli batter, to fermented fish, everything included a good amount of probiotics (good bacteria) which helped people not only in easy digestion but maintain good gut health. But in our modern society, we’ve effectively managed to pasteurize, irradiate, and process out any naturally occurring beneficial bacteria while at the same time feeding harmful bacteria with a feast of processed starches and sugars in the form of processed foods.
And therefore, the best way to improve your immunity is by healing your gut. Start with these small steps:
1. Include more natural probiotics
Probiotics are live micro-organisms that helps in inculcating good bacteria in the gut. Some natural sources of probiotics are found in fermented foods like Curd, buttermilk, idli and dosa etc. making them a part of your diet will ensure
2. Use ghee instead of vegetable oils
Ghee helps in reducing inflammation and is high in gut healing compound- butyrate. A teaspoon of ghee in your lunch and dinner will actually help in easy digestion. Cut out bad, inflammatory omega 6 rich fats like vegetable oils. Replace these with healthier oils like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil.3. Focus more on veggies
Make sure that your plate is half filled with vegetables. Vegetables add good amount of Fiber, vitamins & minerals. Fiber rich diet helps in increasing growth of good bacteria in the gut and therefore plays a protective role.
4. Include variety of grains
Just sticking to wheat flour or rice can result in developing food sensitivity. Consuming only one type of grain can inflame your gut causing various diseases. Try including 2-3 different grains (preferable whole grains) like Quinoa, ragi, jowar, bajra etc. Or a combination of these grains can also work. Limiting gluten containing grains will help in reducing inflammation and will also improve overall gut health.5. Limit processed foods:
Processed foods are low in nutrients and high in refined carbohydrates and fats. They’re also usually loaded with chemicals & artificial ingredients that poorly affect digestion. This nutrient-poor diet makes all the wrong bacteria and yeast grow in the gut, leading to a damaged ecosystem, poor gut health and takes a toll on your immunity.6. Limit Medication overuse:
Anti-biotics, acid and steroids damage the gut bacteria. Only one week of antibiotic use can greatly damage gut bacteria affecting overall immunity. Therefore, antibiotics should only be taken after consulting a doctor; self- administration of medicines should be strictly avoided.
7. Take A Probiotic Supplement:
Many of us need more help in the probiotic department than simple dietary changes can provide. That being said, supplementing probiotics without a change in diet and lifestyle is just a waste of money! If you are already eating real foods including fermented foods/drinks and using other ways to replenish your bacteria, consider supplementing probiotics, at least for a while.
To achieve a healthy gut, start by making an actionable plan for yourself to get your body back to optimal gut health. We at My22BMI, offer a gut health plan where a certified nutrition expert helps you to start a nutrition plan that matches your lifestyle. Here we work with the “4 R’s” of gastrointestinal and digestive health – Remove; Repair; Restore; and Replace.
- Remove: Get rid of the toxins and the foods which are causing inflammation and damage to the gut.
- Repair: Reverse the damage by clean eating and providing right nutrients to the body in adequate amounts.
- Restore: Rebalance the healthy gut bacteria by including probiotics and fibre rich foods.
- Replace: Focus on a healthy lifestyle by regular exercising, meditation, yoga or any other stress relieving activities.
At My22BMI, our program will work to first remove the problem foods and toxins from your system that could be causing issues, then start to repair and heal the gut by reintroducing a clean diet and key nutrients. With the addition of probiotics, you can then being to restore the ideal balance of good gut bacteria which in turn will promote healthy digestion and good gut health.
Contact our qualified nutrition and holistic health experts over a one time Free Consultation Call and get your own customized diet plan.
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My22BMI is a digital healthcare startup addressing the problem of managing lifestyle diseases through personalised diet plans. My22BMI empower lives to eat healthy and smartly and believe food should be your first medicine. The expert health coaches provide personalised diet plans for heart health, gut health, skin & hair health, weight management, mother & child nutrition and hormonal health. Download our Android app from the Google playstore.