Gut Health : Some basics

Paul’s güt health journey - 

In this first post I am going to talk through the basics of gut health, what it's about and why you should care!

If you're into health and wellbeing you've probably already heard a lot about gut health. Gut health is increasingly being talked about and is no longer the taboo it once was. Over the last few years I've started my own journey into gut health. Initially, this was as a way to help me lose weight but has since become a passion, one that I am keen to share. Future posts in the blog will also be from a few different people and will go into the specifics in much more detail!

One of the most exciting and important topics in health right now is the increasing knowledge about the bacteria, viruses and funghi that are living in our digestive tracts. Inside us we have trillions of these "little guys" who are helping us break down the food that we eat and helping us to absorb the essential nutrients that are supporting every other part of our body function, from you heart to your brain and almost every other organ in your body.

All of these together are known as our microbiome.

So how come the microbiome has suddenly become such a big deal? We have always known that we have had microbes living on and in us, but until the last 10-15 years we never really knew how many there were or how many different types! However, with new technology this is changing and now over 10,000 different types of bacteria have been identified as living in the human body, with likely tens of thousands more that haven't yet been identified. Everybody's microbiome make up is also unique and as with most ecosystems it's extremely important to have a diverse range of gut microbes - healthier people, in general, have been shown to have a much more diverse biome than an unhealthier person.

So what can we do to help support these little guys at work in our guts? These are a few things to think about :
? Sleep - Sleep deprivation has a massive effect on your autonomic nervous system, the nervous system that affects your internal organs and therefore effects your gut!
? Exercise - Exercise helps in all aspects of health but is one of the most important things in stimulating your gut motility, this means how well you are able to keep things moving through your digestive tract! This helps to ensure you're absorbing nutrients and getting rid of any toxins hanging around your bowels.
? Stress management - Controlling your stress levels, like exercise, is one of the best things you can do for your health in general. When your stress levels are high and you are stuck in "fight or flight" mode (sympathetic overdrive) then your body is not able to digest your food properly.
? Diet - Unsurprisingly this has a huge effect on your biome. One of the best things you can do is limiting inflammatory foods like wheat, dairy, refined sugars and alcohol. Varying what you eat is a great way to support more diversity in the gut
? Be careful with antibiotics - Antibiotics are sometimes essential to keeping us alive, but they can also have a detrimental effect on our biome so, when possible search for an alternate treatment.

Thank you for taking the time to read this first post. It can be difficult in today's hectic world to keep things in balance, however, I am passionate about good gut health and over the months and years ahead I hope to make a small contribution (alongside many others) to increasing awareness and knowledge and making gut health more accessible to every-belly !