Bacteria determine gut health in our gut microbiome. There are about 300 to 500 different kinds of bacteria living in our digestive tract. Sounds gross, right? Here’s the thing, most of these microorganisms are good bacteria and vital to our overall health. Unfortunately, there are a few bad apples, and an unhealthy gut occurs when we don’t have enough of the good bacteria and too many of those harmful bacteria showing up to our gut party.
Why do I need to improve my gut health?
Poor gut health with high levels of bad bacteria has been linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and autism. In addition to helping prevent these illnesses, improving an unhealthy gut can help make you less susceptible to autoimmune conditions, skin problems, and inflammation.
What are the symptoms of an unhealthy gut?
- Exhaustion: Insomnia and trouble staying asleep can be symptoms of poor gut health. Serotonin is a hormone that influences sleep and mood. An unhealthy gut can produce inadequate amounts of serotonin, reducing our quality of sleep.
- Stomach problems: Think the Pepto-Bismol song; heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea, plus constipation.
- Unintentional changes in weight: Poor gut health can hurt your body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly. This issue can lead to weight loss because of an inability to store fat or weight gain because of an increased urge to overeat to compensate for lost nutrients.
How does my gut health affect my seasonal allergies?
Your gut health directly affects your body’s response to seasonal allergies. Your gut health determines the strength of your immune system. Physical reactions to seasonal allergies are your body’s immune system responding to environmental stressors. You can reduce your body’s response to seasonal allergies by improving the diversity of good bacteria in your gut microbiome. This will strengthen your immune system and calm inflammation within your gut.
How to clean the unhealthy bacteria from your gut.
A good night’s sleep, a clean eating diet low in sugar, rich in fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, low in red meat, processed food, and dairy, and minimizing the type and amount of alcohol you consume are the first steps in clearing out the unhealthy bacteria and raising the levels of the good. If you choose to indulge, consider a glass of red wine, which has been shown to support beneficial bacteria.