EXCLUSIVE: Gut health nutritionist and PCOS expert talks about the importance of a healthy gut

Updated on May 20, 2021 01:13 PM IST  |  280.6K
Importance of Gut health and how it impacts the overall wellbeing

The gut also referred to as the gastrointestinal system or tract, is a group of several organs such as the mouth, stomach, liver, pancreas, intestines, colon or more that are solely responsible for the digestion of food in a body. Gut health, however, refers to microbiomes, which are made up of several micro-organisms and bacteria that live inside the digestive tracts of the body.

Gut health is gaining a lot of importance in recent research as there is a direct connection between improving and maintaining your gut health, and the link between gut health and immunity, fatigue, mental health, mood changes, depression, stress and cancer.

Read more to find out what gut health is and how it plays an important role in improving the overall health and wellbeing as explained by Gut health nutritionist and PCOS, Avanti Deshpande.

The gut microbiome and healthy gut:

The gut microbiome refers to trillions of microbes that are present in the large intestine, most of it is bacteria and a minuscule number of virus and fungi.  The healthy microbiome multiply in number if its well supported in the diet and produce useful metabolites. Dysbiosis is when there is an imbalance in the gut microbiome, the good bacteria are reduced and replaced with harmful ones which will affect the digestive system.

The microbiome performs a host of functions like a synthesis of nutrients. Vit b12 is synthesized by a healthy gut microbiome, building immunity by destroying pathogens and drug metabolism. But what is most significant in the recent research is the role of the microbiome in metabolic disorders like Obesity, type 2 diabetes, PCOS, thyroid dysfunction or inflammatory diseases like Arthritis and Hashimoto’s. The role of the microbiome as a part of the immune system has significance in this.

Several studies have shown a connection between a healthy microbiome and mental health and wellbeing through the gut brain axis. Mood swings, Anxiety, depression could be co-related to the unhealthy gut by impairing the intestinal permeability. Imbalanced mental health like stress or depression may trigger the improper functioning of the gut. Alternately if the gut microbiome is reduced or replaced with a pathogen it will lead to disturbances in mental health.

How do you know that you could have an unhealthy gut? Take a quick quiz:

1.       I feel bloated especially after eating a meal. I feel acidic in the day.

2.      I often experience headaches and migraine.

3.      I often feel tired and fatigued during the day.

4.      I feel anxious and cannot control my emotions.

5.      If burp a lot.

6.      I am suffering from PCOS.

7.       I have Arthritis/Hashimoto’s disease.

8.      I have diabetes.

9.      I have hypothyroidism.

10.   I have food intolerances.

If you have answered at least 7 questions then it’s time you need to heal your gut!

How to improve your Gut health:

Probiotics – These are foods that contain live bacteria and will increase the gut microflora. Fresh homemade buttermilk or curds will contain lactobacilli which improve gut flora. Other probiotics like pickled vegetables- sauerkraut, kimchi, beetroot kanji or fermented rice water are also shown to improve gut microflora and reduce inflammation. Kefir milk/water, miso, kombucha are also gaining a lot of significance as their roles in being probiotics.

Prebiotics – the gut microflora feed on insoluble fibre, which is present in the fruits and vegetables and multiply in number. Make it a point to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables in the day to improve the microflora.

Ghee – surprising enough the ghee which you consume in the diet has the capacity to improve gut health. Ghee contains saturated fats and the microbiome feed on this and multiply. So you should be consuming at least 1 teaspoon of ghee in the diet every day.

As you can see, maintaining a healthy gut has several benefits, both physically and mentally. In such times when one must be extra cautious and aware about their immunity and overall health, gut health cannot be overlooked. A healthy gut helps you avoid several health challenges such as sleep deprivation, stress, diabetes, bad breath, body odour, hormonal imbalance, weight gain and also helps you reduce bloating, acidity, acne, hair fall and food cravings.

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