Signs of an Unhealthy Gut & How to restore Gut Health
What is gut health and its importance?
We as humans have craved to stay healthy, especially after Covid19. On the other hand, India is becoming the global capital of many metabolic disorders such as diabetes, cancer etc. Latest research has proven that the health of our gut is related to the onset and development of these diseases.
Our gut is the host of many bacteria, some are good and some are harmful. There is a balance maintained by our body in the proportion of these bacteria, any kind of imbalance leads to digestion issues and inevitably the proliferation of harmful bacteria into our blood. Hence maintaining good gut health is very important.
Signs of an unhealthy gut:-
1.Stomach upset (constipation, diarrhoea, bloating, nausea etc.)
A healthy gut means you have proper bowel movements and at least once or twice a day which is well-formed, in other words, you have a functional digestive system which is not reactive to external inputs like stress, inflammatory responses and food intake. Constipation or diarrhoea or even prolonged acidity are the first signs indicating a disturbed gut and hence malabsorption of food.
2. Unintentional weight changes (sudden weight loss/weight gain)
Malabsorption of food for a longer period of time deprives our body of essential nutrients which may result in the food converting either into fats or in case nothing could be absorbed leading to depleting glycogen stores from the liver and loss of lean muscle mass from the body to do its daily activities resulting in weight loss.
3. Sleep disturbance and constant fatigue
When a person is suffering from an unhealthy gut, although food is consumed but malabsorbed by the body, our cells are deprived of adequate nutrition due to the absence of certain vitamins and minerals which are required for the food to be available at the cellular level. Our cells do starve resulting in constant fatigue and low energy levels. Research indicates that an imbalanced gut may result in a disturbed or short sleep cycle.
4. Low immunity / Autoimmune disorders
An imbalance between the good and bad bacteria in the body, may result in the production of inflammatory proteins by bad bacteria which may then cause autoimmune disorders.
5. Food intolerances
People who suffer from food intolerance towards certain foods cannot break down that food. Consumption of that food in the minutest quantities may also result in inflammatory reactions by the body leading to an upset stomach.
How can one maintain or restore gut health?
- Follow a well balanced diet. Include foods with Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains or True elements Nuts and Berries Muesli ,foods with resistant starch such as Boiled and cooled Potatoes, overnight soaked True Elements Rolled Oats, boiled and cooled rice etc. These foods provide a substrate of good bacteria to thrive on.
- Include fermented foods in your diet such as curds/yogurt, fermented foods like True Elements Ragi Jowar Dosa Mix etc.
- Include foods with prebiotics (garlic, onion, bananas and asparagus). They act as food for the good bacteria in the gut.
- Include antioxidant rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds like True Elements Antioxidant Mix which help in counteracting any kind of inflammation in our gut and is a potent treatment for unhealthy gut.
- Maintain a good lifestyle. Activity, stress, sleep routine, etc. have a great impact on the wellbeing of your gut microbiome. A balance of each one of the above can help to restore gut health.
Author: Nutritionist Shilpa Mittal
- Masters in Food Science and Nutrition and Certified Diabetes Educator
- Founder of Shilpsnutrilife- Diet and Lifestyle Makeover
- Winner of Nutritionist of the year award