How a Healthy Gut Can Impact Your Overall Health
Did you know that the health of your gut has a direct impact on your overall health? In fact, you could even say that good health starts in the gut. If your digestive system is unhealthy or damaged, it has a direct impact on every other system in your body. Gaining a greater understanding of how a healthy gut can impact your overall health may help you heal and prevent chronic health issues throughout the rest of the body.
The Importance of Gut Health
The intestinal barrier is made up of cells connected by tissue. In a healthy gut, this tissue prevents the movement of liquids or particles between cells. When the intestinal cells become damaged, however, it causes a condition known as intestinal permeability, also referred to as leaky gut syndrome. Tiny particles of undigested food and other substances that would normally be blocked “leak” into the bloodstream and cause damage throughout the body.
Symptoms of leaky gut include a weakened immune system, fatigue, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, skin conditions, difficulty losing weight, and even mental health issues. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, there’s a chance your gut health could be impaired.
What Causes Intestinal Permeability?
Several factors have been found to play a role in intestinal damage. These include:
- A diet high in sugar, especially fructose.
- Chronic inflammationthroughout the body, which can be caused by inflammatory foods such as sugar, trans fats, vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates, excessive alcohol, and processed meat.
- Stress, which is linked to multiple intestinal disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
How a Healthy Gut Can Improve Your Health
The following are just a few examples of how a healthy gut can impact your overall health.
Digestive issues, such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating, are often the result of damage to the intestinal tract.
Stronger Immune System
The digestive tract is an important part of the body’s immune system. Excessive colds and other infections could be a sign of intestinal damage. Strengthening your digestive system can help you remain healthy, especially during peak cold and flu season.
Increased Mental Clarity
Cognitive issues, like brain fog and memory problems, are also linked to gut health and inflammation. The digestive system and the brain are in constant communication, and certain brain functions are directly influenced by the gut. In fact, the network of neurons in the gut is so extensive that some scientists have referred to it as the second brain.
Gut health is also closely linked to mental health. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and social behavior, is produced primarily in the digestive system. Research indicates that people with digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, are more likely to develop depression and anxiety.
How to Improve Gut Health
Healing a damaged gut starts with reducing inflammation and removing problematic foods from the diet so that your digestive system can rest and repair itself. Start by removing inflammatory foods from your diet. Eat anti-inflammatory foods, such as berries, leafy greens, turmeric, chia seeds, broccoli, avocado, and green tea. Consume healthy fats, such as salmon, coconut oil, and olive oil.
Take a probiotic to help restore levels of healthy gut bacteria. Fermented foods, such as tempeh, miso, kefir, and kombucha, can also give your gut a probiotic boost, as can yogurt, but avoid yogurts with added flavors as these are typically high in sugar.
Bone broth is also a beneficial anti-inflammatory food that contains collagen and gelatin, which help build and repair the digestive tract, as well as amino acids such as glycine, proline, and arginine, which all have anti-inflammatory effects.
Use bone broth as a base for soups, or sip it as an alternative to coffee or tea.
When using bone broth, choose those made with high-quality ingredients using bones from animals raised without steroids, antibiotics, or growth stimulants. At Osso Good, we make bone broths and paleo soups with organic ingredients that are also gluten free, Whole30 Approved, and Certified Paleo. We are very proud to make our own bone broth in small, controlled batches to ensure the quality is always consistent and the taste is always amazing.