How’s your digestion? Do you ever experience bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, or acid indigestion? Most people do experience these symptoms occasionally. However, when the issues are chronic, once a week or more, or you’re taking medication for them, then it’s time to take a look at some solutions and perhaps some habit changing. On Tuesday I offered 15 Things that You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Health & Digestion. Today, we’re going to take a look at why your gut health matters.
There’s a lot of talk in the media about the gut microbiome. It’s been a hot topic for the past year or two. Why? Well, science is learning that the microbiome, the bacteria in your digestive system, are responsible for monitoring and creating a lot more activity than previously thought. Science and the medical community used to approach each body system as a separate functioning system. Thankfully, they’ve evolved past that and they realize that everything is connected. If one system in your body is compromised, other systems have to step in and compensate.
Your digestive system is a critical system for your overall health. If you don’t have healthy digestion, you’re at risk for mood disorders, autoimmune disorders, cancer, heart disease…the list goes on and on. So, let’s take a closer look at what your gut does and why a healthy gut matters.
#1 Heart Health and Cardiovascular Risk
Studies have indicated that good bacteria and a healthy microbiome may help raise good (HDL) cholesterol and lower the bad (LDL), which can prevent heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
Speaking of high blood pressure, a 2014 meta study (review of multiple studies) found that taking probiotics and eating probiotic foods lowered blood pressure.
#2 Allergies and Your Immune System
Now allergies and a cold are two different immune processes. However, your gut microbiome plays a role in the health of both.
With allergies, and we’re talking about food allergies and environmental allergies like dust, your gut microbes are responsible for teaching your body how to respond to irritants. If your gut microbiome isn’t healthy, the teaching doesn’t happen and you get an allergic response instead.
And when your gut health is compromised, you can develop autoimmune issues like Crohn’s or Colitis.
The colon cancer and gut health connection probably isn’t new to you, when you have a healthy digestive system, the chances of those cells running rampant and mutating is higher. But you probably didn’t know that there seems to be a connection between gut health and other cancers including some breast cancers.
Research shows that the gut microbiota of women with breast cancer differs significantly from the gut of healthy women. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121903/)
Your gut health is intimately connected to your mental health. A disrupted or unhealthy gut microbiome may create or worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression. At this point there are more than 50 studies with a positive correlation between gut health and certain mood disorders.
More research needs to be done but it bears paying attention to. If you find yourself feeling more anxious or depressed, think about what you ate in the past 24 hours. Personally, I can’t have cider or sweetened alcoholic beverages without experiencing moderate depression the next day.
#5 Cognitive Disorders
There’s growing evidence that gut health may impact Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Now this is close and dear to my heart as my mother passed away from dementia and she was very young when she was diagnosed.
This young age shows a genetic connection and I have gut issues. If you have a family history of dementia, please pay attention to your gut health. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and it’s a terrible disease.
We’ve hit on 5 of the major reasons why your gut health matters but this isn’t the end of the list. Your gut health also impacts:
- Bone health
- Type 1 & 2 Diabetes
- Thyroid disorders
- Skin health
Your Gut Health Matters!
The bottom line is that it looks like there isn’t a system in your body that isn’t affected by the health of your gut. That’s the bad news. The good news is that improving your gut health isn’t complicated. Check out the blog post from Tuesday or drop me an email – annette @ renegadenurse.com, or visit me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/AnnetteRNHealthCoach/
To your health!