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  • Amy Salman, Founder, The Wellness Map

All You Should Know About Gut Health

Updated: Dec 11, 2019

Thank you for responding to my last email and letting me know some of the topics you are most interested in hearing about. I will get to all of them. One of the most popular requests was gut health, and since there is so much to cover on the gut, I will be writing more than once on this topic. But, let's begin here.

Our gut is housed by trillions of microorganisms for strengthening the immune system and creating chemicals to make you happy. In today’s world, Gut health has become a very hot topic for scientists, doctors, and researchers. So many bacteria in our body and it seems that our goal of a healthy life depends on these bacteria. Most of the microbiome and its activities are involved in the biological processes determining our health & diseases.

Every individual has a unique ‘gut microbiome’ much like a finger print; housed by approximately 160 bacterial species. When a baby is in the canal-passage to take birth, it is the first place where microbes come into existence. These are called mother’s microbes. They go on as unstable bacteria from the infant stage and reach stability after the age of two years.

Gut microbiome plays an important role in our nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system. It is like a mega organ in our body. Out-of-sync gut bacteria—meaning the wrong type of microbial diversity and/or lack of diversity—can affect numerous things including weight loss. Among its duties, your gut moderates fat storage, fat-regulating hormones, and blood sugar balance: key factors that determine whether or not you lose weight. That makes sense when you consider your gut constantly processes nutrients, toxins, food additives, microbes, and drugs that pass through your digestive tract. As a health-regulating gatekeeper, your gut helps optimize your immune system while keeping out potentially detrimental substances.

Most of us, today, are losing diversity in their gut microbiome due to change of lifestyle. Use of antibiotics, remaining indoors most of the time, and moving into the urban locality has contributed to this loss of healthy gut bacteria. Further, the gut microbiome is called your second brain. There is a Vagus nerve that connects your gut to your brain. It interacts with your brain and changes your mood, happiness, motivation, and even can contribute to suboptimal neurological performance later in life. Ninety-percent of serotonin is produced by microbes acting as your "happiness neurotransmitter."

Some important points regarding gut health that you should know:

* Relaxation is very much necessary for maintenance of Gut health. Various techniques can be adopted like meditation or yoga to relax yourself and your Gut as well.

* No news is good news. If you are not experiencing any abdomen pain or feeling bloating, it means your Gut is alright and healthy. Your Gut continuously communicates with you regarding its health.

* Whole foods should be eaten and you should avoid packaged or processed foods, containing unwanted preservatives that disturb the healthy bacteria in the gut.

* Fresh fruits and vegetables should be consumed in place of canned vegetables or fruit juice. However, frozen fruits can be a healthy choice provided no sugar or flavor is added.

* You should include enough fiber in your diet from fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

* Take a probiotic.

* Add fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

A healthy gut is associated with a healthy metabolism. Antibiotics and other unhealthy food choices along with stress can change the composition of your microbiota, thus create an imbalance in microorganisms. This can have both short and long-term effects on your health in regard to regulation of metabolism, immunity and changing the eco-system of microbiota for long years.

Here's to a healthy gut & a healthy you!



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