If you find you feel unwell on a regular basis or your mood is swinging greater than a pendulum, would you ever consider that your gut has something to do with it?
Your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) is a series of hollow organs — your mouth, oesophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine — that takes in your food, digests it and expels the waste.
However, it is also the place where more than 100 trillion bacteria can be found. Of course some of this bacteria is good for you, but there are some that are just plain toxic. How do you know when your gut needs a bit of lovin’?
Quite a large percentage of your immune system resides in your gut, so if you are finding you get sick on a regular basis it could be a sign your gut isn’t functioning the way you need it to. What you could do is up your intake of fibre-rich foods, including fruit, vege and whole grains, and reduce the amount of sugars in your diet.
If, at your last visit to the dentist, they mentioned your tooth enamel was looking a tad worn, it could be a sign your are experiencing acid reflux. You might want to investigate further if you also have a sore throat and are wheezing or coughing.
The way acid reflux is treated is by looking at your diet, and if you are overweight getting you to drop the kilos.
If your gut is unhealthy it could have an impact on the health of your brain. Gut bacteria produces neurotransmitters and what scientists have discovered is that some people with certain mental disorders — such as depression and anxiety — also have disturbances with their gut bacteria.
What you can do is each foods that are rich in polyphenols, which includes fruit, vege, tea and extra virgin olive oil.
The bad thing about stress is that it can lead to all sorts of other complications — increased anxiety, increased blood pressure, and it can also be bad for your gut. That said, stress is going to be a part of your life regardless, but what you don’t want is to let it go too long unmanaged.
When you don’t address the stresses in your life it can prevent the gut from working at its best. You could end up with acid reflux, an ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome or even a food allergy.
You can consume probiotic foods, omega-3 fatty acids and foods that have a level of vitamin A and D. It has also been said that taking cod liver oil on a regular basis can make a difference to the negative effect stress has on your gut.
Is it eczema or could it be coeliac disease? When you have coeliac disease your body reacts to the gluten you ingest and the antibody released attacks the intestines. However, sometimes that antibody collects in small blood vessels under your skin and you end up with an eczema-like rash.
A trip to your doctor can lead to a quick diagnosis, and if it’s found you are coeliac a gluten free diet will sort you out.
Other skin conditions that could indicate you have an unbalanced gut include psoriasis and adult acne.