Ever wonder why we always say “I have a gut feeling about this”? When we feel certain emotions like nervousness (butterflies in our stomach), disgust (sick to my stomach), or a hunch (I have a gut feeling about this), the feeling seems to start in our stomach. More often than not, those “feelings” that seem to emanate from our gut often ring true. Why does our stomach intuitively seem to be the first to know?
First of all, let's talk about your microbiome. The microbiome is a living ecosystem of bacteria that resides in and on your body. Most of this is beneficial bacteria (better known as probiotics) and the majority of your probiotics live in, you guessed it, your gut.
The Gut - Home to Trillions of Bacteria
While some friendly bacteria reside in your mouth, on your skin, and other body parts, a good majority of your friendly bacteria reside in your gut. Just as well, because 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Friendly microbes protect your gut barrier by letting only the good stuff in and the bad bacteria out. It teaches your immune system how to respond to stimuli and makes sure your immune system is healthy and in fighting form at all times.
How your Gut Health is Linked to Happiness
Good gut health means you have better ability to respond to illness and stress. Why stress, you ask? Studies show that your feel good chemicals (Dopamine and Serotonin) start production in the gut. A whopping 90% of all Serotonin production is induced by your gut bacteria. Beneficial bacteria (aka probiotics) also have the ability to lower Cortisol - the stress hormone.
Improving Gut Health
Your microbiome is one of the most hardworking systems in your body. It is constantly under attack from things we eat or get in contact with. Things like processed food, refined sugar, pesticides, GMOs - even seemingly beneficial things like antibacterial products and antibiotics - can kill beneficial bacteria and affect the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut.
Fortunately, there are many ways to improve your gut health. Here are some ways:
- One is to eat food that is high in fibre. Stick to colourful, nutrient rich fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Try to incorporate fermented foods in your diet. They contain probiotics that help support your microbiome. Some examples of fermented foods are: Kefir, Kimchi, Yogurt, Miso, Sauerkraut, and Kombucha.
- Take probiotics. There are high quality probiotic supplements available in the market. Some are in the form of tablets and some are in the form of probiotic drinks.
- Detox. Going on a detox is a good way to cleanse yourself of harmful bacteria. Look for supplements that are healthy for you and not only get rid of water and undigested food. A good detox supplement can contain elements that bind to harmful toxins in your body and help flush them out. One such element is food grade Diatomaceous Earth - a natural detoxifier - absorbs methylmercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, and drug residues.
So you see, improving your gut health is one step closer to a healthier, happier life!