Gut Health: What it is and Why it Matters

todaySeptember 14, 2021 52

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By Lea Mercado
Web Content Assistant Manager

According to Google Trends, searches regarding gut health quadrupled over the past five years. While many folks grapple with ever-evolving diet trends, the focus has started to shift towards diets that heal the body.

To understand why so many people are researching how to heal their gut, a good understanding of what the gut does is crucial.

The gut consists of various vital organs: the esophagus, gall bladder, liver, stomach, and pancreas are all part of the gut, as well as both the small and large intestines. These elements form the digestive system, in which food is swarmed by digestive enzymes in the stomach that breaks down food and distributes nutrients to the rest of the body.

For a more in-depth explanation, Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle discusses the complexities and importance of the gut in her TEDx Talk.

Needless to say, each part of the system must function well for the body to not only function but thrive.

According to data gathered by the GI Alliance, a staggering 62 million Americans are diagnosed with a digestive disorder each year. While many symptoms present themselves extremely subtly, many Americans have opted to research and treat their symptoms at home.

By now, you are probably wondering, “Okay, so how do I know if my gut is healthy or not?” Well, the first step is simple:

Listen to your gut.

Observing how the body reacts to different types of food can be more telling than one may realize. After eating, pay close attention to how you’re feeling. Are you nauseous, reaching for Tums, or feeling unfocused? All these seemingly subtle typical occurrences can be an indication that your digestive system is not functioning at its fullest potential.

Within the gut resides a diverse community of bacteria. This home is referred to as a microbiome. Some aid the digestive process, but some also hinder it. A well-balanced diet should consist of foods that contain healthy bacteria, such as fermented foods that contain probiotics. Having an imbalance of beneficial bacteria and digestive enzymes can also affect mental health in addition to physical wellbeing.

According to the American Psychological Association, 95% of serotonin, the mood-regulating chemical, is developed in the gut. In addition to serotonin, dopamine and melatonin also develop in the gut. So, it might be time to trade in the melatonin gummies for some probiotics instead.

While having a healthy gut may not be the answer to every medical mystery, the benefits are endless. Of course, if digestive issues are affecting your day-to-day life, talking to a doctor is always the best option. That being said, take time to research and understand your anatomy.

You can never learn enough about your body, and you might as well. After all, you only get one.

Featured Image by Lea Mercado

Written by: ktsw899

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