Gut health is something most of us have heard of thanks to the massive amount of research that’s been done on it in the last ten years. Hence why products like kombucha, bone broth, sauerkraut and kimchi are becoming more common in some peoples households. Recent research is also associating poor gut health, with overweight and obese people, and those who struggle to lose weight.
How healthy our gut is, affects our immune function and overall health. It can be the missing link for some people who suffer from hayfever, allergies, food intolerances and skin issues, which can all be gut driven. Our bodies have a brain gut axis that connects our gut with our brain, which is why even mental health can be associated with poor gut health.
So what actually is involved in gut health? Trillions of different types of bacteria – both good and bad, make up something called the gut microbiome. An unbalanced microbiome can lead to obesity and disease. Our bodies have approximately two kilos of microbes within our gut, consisting of good and bad bacteria, fungi and viruses which all together, make up this magical gut microbiome. The gut microbiome then effects how our bodies react to immune responses, different foods and foreign pathogens that enter our bodies. It can even affect the way we think. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in how much influence it can have on our bodies.
The microbiome is also responsible for producing vitamins from the food we eat and amino acids, therefore it affects our energy levels and indirectly, our muscles. It effects our metabolism too; bacteria have fat-fighting power, this is why we need the right levels of them within our gut. People with poor gut health, are often fatigued and lacking in energy. Calorie use is not as efficient, which can be a cause of this fatigue. This can then turn on the stress response, increasing cortisol levels. High cortisol levels work against weight loss; see how it is all linked?
Symptoms of poor gut health range from bad breath, dermatitis, fungal infections and thrush, to brain fog, fatigue and digestive issues, such as bloating and gas.
We need good amounts of both good and bad bacteria within our digestive system and it is when the bad guys overpopulate the good guys, the ratio is all wrong. This is when symptoms will occur.
So how do we fix this? We have to take the bad culprits out of our diet and fertilise our existing good bacteria to help them grow, a bit like a garden. Probiotic foods tend to be more effective at fertilising our existing gut bacteria as opposed to a probiotic supplements…..The healing power of the right foods. Foods like kombucha and bone broth are a great place to start, plus other probiotic foods such as kimchi, sauerkraut and kefir. We also need a varied diet to increase the diversity of the gut flora. These days, unfortunately most people stick to the same foods each week, but we need to be mixing it up, so we can create diversity within our gut. The more diverse your gut and gut flora are, the more likely you are to be healthy, with lower percentages of body fat. However, the more sparse your gut microbes are, increases your chance of being overweight, with a slow metabolism and often a lazy bowel.
We need to eat to support our gut bacteria. This is one of the negatives with diets which cut out a whole food group for example carbs. It damages your microbiome and increases your likelihood of putting on weight. Yes, many carbs are not good for our bodies in large quantities such as pasta, bread and potatoes…these type of carbs don’t provide good fuel for the body. However carbs like oats, brown rice and quinoa, are all good carbs. It is the starches in these type of carbs (especially if you reheat the rice) which also feed our gut.
The knowledge in relation to gut bateria and weight loss is relatively new….But it could just be the missing ingredient for those people who really struggle to lose weight.
If you think your gut health is not up to standard and struggle to lose weight, book an appointment with me and we’ll go through ways to improve and implement different foods in a practical way, all through diet. It’s amazing the way food can either heal or damage the body….the power of good food and the amazing gut.