The moment we start to understand that the gut is the center of control in our body, we begin to care for it ways we never have in the past. It is crazy that this extremely important mechanism in our body is overlooked so often because in reality, a lot of the issues we run into with our health can be fixed by focusing on gut health.
Here are just a few, but some major parts of our health that are control by the gut.
1. Mental Health
Your gut is directly connected to your brain through something called the Vegus Nerve. The Vegus Nerve acts as a walkie talkie and a mode of communication from the brain to the gut and the gut to the brain.
Depending on the make up of your microbiome and the activity that is occurring in the gut, certain signals and chemicals will be sent to the brain, causing you to feel and think in specific ways.
70% of your serotonin (the key hormone that stabilizes your mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness) are produced in your gut.
So to say your diet impacts your mood is a given. When we have a balanced microbiome that is fueled by fiber rich, whole foods we harvest an environment for good bacteria to thrive and properly do tasks such as serotonin production.
Dysbiosis aka imbalances in the gut, will lead to increased levels of anxiety and depression.
The make up of your gut bacteria will directly influence your gut's ability to extract from your diet, both nutritionally and energetically.
An imbalance of certain bad bacteria will actually promote fat storage. Your gut can also lack the ability to break down foods and convert them into essential vitamins and nutrients.
A healthy and diverse microbiota will contain microbes that will work in your favor, performing tasks that will keep your metabolism working efficiently.
For example, a healthy gut will contain bacteria that help alter your sensitivity to insulin—the hormone that moves sugar out of your blood—so that your body burns fat that it would have otherwise stored.
Whole plant foods rich in fiber will feed this good bacteria while a diet rich in processed foods will feed bad bacteria, further promoting a thriving community of microbes working against you.
3. Immune System
Did you know that nearly 70 percent of your immune system is housed in your gut? Healthy bacteria found in your gut is used to stimulate the development of T‑cells, which are responsible for distinguishing your body’s cells and tissue from potentially harmful things in your body.
This means that a healthy microbiome equals a strong immune system and an unhealthy one equals a weak one, making us prone to all different types of illness, disease and cancer.
When there is an imbalance in your gut, such as an overgrowth of “bad” bacteria, it can confuse your immune system causing it to start attacking your own cells. If your immune system is busy reacting to healthy cells, not only is it easier for you to get sick, it’s also harder for your body to recover.
An over active immune system can lead to autoimmune disorders and chronic inflammation. In order to build a strong immune system we must cultivate a healthy, diverse, and thriving microbiome.
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