Our stomach is a vital organ in the body as it aids in breaking down our food and releasing the nutrients into our bodies. An unhealthy stomach can contribute to a wide range of diseases.
However, it can be difficult to tell if your stomach is unhealthy; some of the warning signs are little things that would not worry us day to day. I have compiled a list of signs and symptoms of an unhealthy gut.
1. Digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhea.
These are the signs most people recognize straight away as a stomach problem. These signs are caused by the bacteria living inside your stomach when the balance of bacteria is not right bowel irregularity and gas can occur. Gas, in particular, is a sign that food is fermenting in your gut, as you have insufficient stomach acid or an imbalance of bacteria to break down the food you’ve eaten.
2. Sugar cravings
Oddly enough your sugar craving sweet tooth may not be down to low will power but down to the bacteria in your body. Scientists have found that gut bacteria actually secrete special proteins that affect both our food cravings and mood. Basically the bacteria thrive on sugary food, so they make you crave it. This is the main cause of yeast infections. Over time you can reduce this craving by substituting in naturally sweet foods which will not feed the bacteria. Food such as frozen grapes, dark chocolate or even a little honey in your herbal tea.
3. Bad breath
Chronic bad breath is called halitosis, and usually, it is caused by odor-inducing microbes that sit between your teeth and gums or on your tongue. Bad breath can also be caused by bacteria in the stomach. The body depends on a ratio of good and bad bacteria and having too much bad bacteria can make you vulnerable to health conditions linked to bad breath such as kidney infections and diabetes.
4. Food allergies or sensitivities
Food intolerances such as a reaction to gluten or dairy can often be the result of a leaky stomach (not all the time). The stomach is a sealed passageway from our mouth to our bottom, so its interactions with the other parts of the body are actually rather low. When your stomach is leaky, this means large molecules of food escape into the bloodstream. Our immune system recognizes these as “Foreign substances” because they do not belong outside of our gut. So our body attacks these food types and the immune system recognizes this as a food intolerance to try and prevent you from eating those types of foods.
5. Moodiness, Anxiety and Depression
Mental health is very closely linked to what we put into our bodies. A comprised stomach is unable to process appropriate nutrition’s, and this affects your ability to use serotonin (your happy hormone) and vitamin D within your body. 70% of your body's serotonin levels are found within the gut. If your gut leaks, your body loses much of the serotonin it produces. Treating your gut is a sure fire way to support mental wellbeing.
6. Autoimmune disease and suppressed immunity
Poor gut health means your immune system is overactive, and it becomes weakened. This is problematic in the lead up to winter as there are simply a greater number of colds and flu we are exposed to. We are just much more susceptible to catching these bugs if our gut health is compromised.
What can we do?
- Eat a diet rich in probiotic foods including sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, kimchi and fermented vegetables
- Drink bone broth. The gelatine in bone broth helps to line the gut to repair the damage caused by leaky gut. I am posting an extensive look into the benefits of bone broth later this week
- Take a probiotic supplement. I recommend the Metagenics range, these are not sold over the counter ( let me know if you would like some) When choosing a probiotic make sure it is always stored in the fridge if only on the shelves DO NOT BUY IT!
- Eat a nutrient dense diet that is right for your genetics which ensures you feel full for the longest period of time. Eating in a way that promotes blood sugar balance will help relieve some of the stress your body is under, meaning it is better able to fight colds.
- Sleep. Adequate rest helps our body restore itself