Don’t get us wrong, eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising are essential steps to maintaining your health and we’re not arguing that.
But listening to your gut is the piece you may be missing.
We’ve been taught that bacteria is bad, and when it’s on your kitchen counter or in a scrape on your knee, it is.
Bad when it’s in your gut, it’s the cornerstone of health.
How Gut Bacteria Works
There are approximately 10 trillion bacteria living in a healthy gut. All perfectly balanced and working to keep you healthy.
Gut bacteria are responsible for nutrition because they help digest and absorb nutrients. But they do more than that.
The bacteria in your gut is responsible for maintaining your immune system AND allowing your brain to send and receive the signals that trigger every system in your body.
In other words, gut bacteria is literally vital to human life.
About That Perfect Balance…
The reason it’s important to listen to your gut is because the perfect balance of bacteria is actually pretty precarious.
Your body has to have a wide variety of bacteria in order to support optimal health. If your gut gets out of balance, your health will decline.
And it’s not just if you end up with too much “bad” bacteria. Even too much of the good stuff will negatively impact your health. That’s how important the balance is.
Once your gut is out of balance, you’ll probably notice it in your stomach and digestive tract. “Tummy troubles” are definitely a sign there’s something wrong.
But you’ll experience a decline in your overall health, as well. An unhealthy gut has been linked to diseases that have nothing to do with digestion.
Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and lung conditions.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to tip the balance of bacteria, which is another reason to listen to your gut and catch any disturbances early.
An out of balance gut can be caused by any number of things: illnesses, medications, an unhealthy diet, or even a healthy but unbalanced diet.
It’s not enough to just eat healthy foods if you’re eating the same healthy foods day after day. You need to make sure you have a varied diet, as well as a healthy one.
What to Listen For
It’s all fine and good to say listen to your gut – but what does that mean exactly? It means be on the lookout for these symptoms:
- Gas, bloating, and diarrhea
- Cramping or other abdominal aches
- Irritable bowel syndrome or inflammatory bowel disease
- Food intolerances
- Chronic illnesses, including those not directly related to your gut
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
- Inability to absorb fat and other nutrients properly
How to Fix It
If you recognize any of those symptoms, there’s still good news – it’s easy to fix an out-of-balance gut.
- Make sure your diet is healthy. Foods high in sugar and fat can contribute to an unhealthy gut.
- If you’re already eating well, make sure you’re getting enough variety in your diet. Remember, it’s as much about diversity of diet as healthy choices.
- Work these foods into your diet. They are known for being good for gut health:
- Bananas – help restore gut balance and should reduce inflammation
- Beans – help your body absorb nutrients through the walls of your gut and supports your immune system
- Blueberries – help keep the bacteria population diverse
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc.) – help feed the good bacteria and reduce inflammation
- Polenta – helps keep the gut healthy and balanced
Listening to your gut isn’t just about intestinal health. It’s more important than that.
But now that you know what you’re looking for – and what’s at stake – you’ll be able to listen to your gut and fix any problems you may have.
Your whole body will thank you!