Things you ought to know about your gut.
While most of us think that our gut lies somewhere in the abdomen, an anatomy lesson reveals that it begins from the mouth and extends down to the anus. The ‘Gut’ is not just a single organ but comprises of a system of structures including the mouth, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, small intestine, colon and rectum. Among these organs, the small intestine is about 20 feet long and the large intestine extends to roughly 5 feet.
Amazing. Isn’t it?
However, mother nature did not install such extensive machinery in your body without a purpose. Human gut has many functions ranging from digesting food and absorbing nutrients to providing a habitat for the gut microbiome that defend us against ailments and ensure optimum health.
Read on to learn more about your gut and how it contributes to your overall health so you can appreciate this precious apparatus of nature and treat it deservedly.
Your mood and food are related
Research reveals that carbohydrates induce the release of serotonin which is why many people cannot stop munching on snacks rich in carbs, like potato chips, when they are stressed. Additionally, fats are known to promote the hormone and neurotransmitter ‘Dopamine’ in our body. This hormone triggers sensations of pleasure and contentment.
No doubt that huge pack of crispy potato chips makes us forget our dilemmas for a while!
However, there is a flip side to this scenario as well. A whopping 95% of another happy chemical called ‘Serotonin’ is produced in our gut. However, this proportion can be severely disrupted when you are facing digestive issues owing to bad food choices. Count in processed foods such as potato chips and artificial ingredients that can cause inflammation in your gut lining. These foods have the opposite effect, making you feel depressed, anxious and simply down for no apparent reason.
Think of these foods as addictive drugs that make you feel ecstatic at first but wreak havoc on your health and well-being in the longer term. The solution is to stay away from them and eat as healthy as you can to protect your gut.
The gut HATES lectins
You can find out more about lectins in Dr. Steven Gundry’s famous book ‘The Plant Paradox’, but let me introduce them to you in case you have never heard of them before.
But wait, you may have heard of gluten. Right?
Gluten is just one form of lectins that can destroy our gut lining and cause ‘leaky gut’. A leaky gut is essentially a breach of the gut lining which subsequently loses the ability to keep harmful substances from entering the bloodstream.
In his book, Dr. Gundry talks about many foods that are otherwise thought of as healthy and which contain these deadly lectins.
Lesson of the day: Avoid gluten and lectin-containing foods to let your gut thrive. Trust me, it is in your best interest!
Breeding ground for your microbiome
You may have believed your entire life that the human body is made up of cells. While this concept is not entirely wrong, it is definitely incomplete. The human body is ALSO made up of countless single-cell organisms collectively called the ‘microbiome’. In fact, these microbiome exceed human cells by a ratio of 10:1 and are customised for every individual. Your gut hosts the ecosystem that is required for these microbiome to thrive and thereby ensures that they are able to play the critical role they have in maintaining our health.
While the gut does its part, what you can do is to regularly take prebiotics and probiotics to maintain a healthy balance of good gut bacteria. Additionally, eat a healthy diet that contains resistant starches which your gut microbiome love to feed on.
Gut-brain communication is real
As surprising as it may seem, your gut is connected to your brain through nerve cells that act as a channel of communication between these two vital organs. The gut and brain not only collaborate during the process of digestion but also exchange information about stress levels in the body and mood disorders.
Additionally, studies on rodents show that gut microbiome have the power to affect brain chemistry and neural development. An alteration in the balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut can induce behavioural changes and make a person not feel like themselves.
Not only does your gut talk to your brain but it also has a brain of its own called the “Enteric Nervous System” or the ‘Second brain’. This brain of yours comprises of even more neurons than your spinal cord and a dysfunction in this second brain is linked to diseases such as autism and epilepsy.
That ‘gut feeling’ you often have is not your imagination after all. It’s your gut-brain in the works!
Broad-spectrum antibiotics can wipe it all clean!
Let me clarify myself if the above statement confused you. The cleanup we are talking about here is not at all desirable, unless there is any life-threatening issue that must be addressed.
Broad-spectrum antibiotics work by eliminating all the gut bacteria in your body, regardless of any distinction between the good and bad ones. While they are absolutely necessary to treat some deadly bacterial infections, they literally wipe away any and all of the gut bacteria making you increasingly vulnerable to harmful substances and infections, causing digestive issues as well as invoking a leaky gut.
Avoid taking these antibiotics unnecessarily and consume prebiotics and probiotics regularly to help your gut microbiome flourish.
Side note: Sashivitality’s Bio-Cultures Probiotic Capsules are vegan, GMO free and 100% natural supplements that can help revive your gut microbiome to ensure they maintain the defence lineup for you. Try them out if you are having gut issues or simply want to strengthen the fort against indigestion, bacterial infections and a myriad of other health issues.
Appreciate your gut and it will pay you back many times over!