By Harriett Eldridge, of Rooted Living
The gut, aka the gastrointestinal tract is a tube that goes from your mouth to your anus. The organs of the digestive tract include the:
- Small Intestines
- Large Intestines
The Liver, gallbladder and pancreas also play a huge role in our digestive process. Not only are there organs involved in the digestive process but also enzymes, stomach acid, bile, bacteria and fungi.
The Main functions of the gut are:
- Break down food so that we can absorb our nutrients.
- Act as a selective barrier between the outside world and our bodies. It lets the ‘good’ stuff in and keeps the ‘bad’ stuff out.
- Kill off unwanted pathogens that we've ingested.
- Houses the majority of our immune system to protect us from disease.
- Creates brain chemicals called neurotransmitters which regulate mood, sleep and memory. This is why there is a strong link between our gut and our brain.
- Packages up and eliminates toxins from our body.
- Houses trillions of bacteria, collectively known as the microbiome that produce beneficial by products from consuming the fibre we eat.
When all is well, the gut should do its job and leave you feeling energised and satisfied. Unpleasant symptoms may be a sign that you gut needs some love.
10 signs that your gut needs help:
- Bad breath
- Constipation / diarrhoea
- Food intolerances
- Food cravings
- Brain fog
Your gut might needs supporting if:
- You have taken multiple courses of antibiotics
- Regularly take medications such OCP
- Have a stressful lifestyle
- Eat processed foods
- Regularly drink alcohol
- Have inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema
Natural Ways to support the gut:
- Manage stress levels – chronic stress damages the gut lining leading that can lead to leaky gut. I'd suggest activities such as yoga, deep breathing, having a bath, reading a book, and getting quality sleep.
- Chew your food properly – chewing your food stimulates the release of digestive enzymes that help us to absorb the nutrients.
- Include a wide variety of colourful fruit and vegetables – These are high in fibre that help to sweep our toxins from our body via our stool and ‘feeds’ the good gut bugs. Other fibre rich foods include nuts, seeds, and wholegrains.
- Include fermented vegetables in your diet. These contain live beneficial bacteria that increase the diversity of our microbiome.
In some cases, a probiotic supplement is advised to reach a therapeutic level. Different strains of bacteria have different effects on the gut, so I would recommend getting in touch with a qualified professional who can guide you on the right probiotic for you.
I offer online nutritional consultations, so if you would like a personalised plan specific to your needs, please book in for a free 15 minute consultation here: www.rootedliving.co.uk