The good gut
It’s easy to think of your gut as something that simply helps you convert what you eat into energy for your cells. But the fact is our digestive system is more complex than that, and good gut health is the cornerstone of bodily and mental wellbeing.
Our gut is certainly an incredible food processor, but it also plays a key role in many other aspects of our health. The millions of microbes that live in our gut are associated with many body functions. This community of microbes (known as our microbiome) contains at least 1000 different species of bacteria, with 100 trillion or so cohabiting microorganisms, and can weigh up to 1.5kg. A little known fact about the composition of the human microbiome is that around two thirds of it is completely unique to each individual, just like a fingerprint.
Here are some of the ways that your gut plays a role in within your body:
- Digesting and absorbing food to enable nutrients to pass into the bloodstream.
- Producing essential nutrients, and activating some nutrients that can’t otherwise be used.
- Fermenting undigested prebiotic fibres to feed the microbiome and producing short-chain fatty acids which repair and replenish gut cells.
- Neurotransmitter and hormone production—especially Serotonin, Gamma-amino butyric acid and Dopamine, all of which affect our mood and behaviour. The gut is commonly called ‘the second brain’ as it contains over 300 million neurons, and considered to be the source of intuition (gut feelings).
- There is a nervous system in the intestines that has 500 million messenger cells that the brain uses to communicate with organs.
Clearly our gut is a key contributor to our overall wellness, so how can you look after it?
Drinking water enables the body to move nutrients around more easily, helps to flush out toxins and eases waste removal.
Avoid refined sugar and highly processed foods
Sugar feeds the bad bugs in the gut. The more sugar or sweeteners you eat, the more they grow, and they then start to overtake the good bacteria.
Exercise helps to increase blood flow to the muscles and digestive tract, plus helps the intestines to naturally contract, moving food through the digestive tract. It also has a positive impact on enriching the diversity of our microbiome.
Your body can’t tell the difference between emotional/mental stressors and physical stress, so even if your life isn’t in danger, getting stressed out triggers your fight-or-flight response. This slows down digestion (and can even stop it all together) so your body can divert energy to face the perceived threat.
Eat your fibre
Fibre is the indigestible parts of vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. There are 3 main types of fibre: soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. These 3 types of fibre each have different positive impacts on gut health and our microbiome. One reason for the different benefits is the fermentation speed. Some fibres act as prebiotics and ferment quickly within the colon, whereas others ferment slowly. This difference in speed ensures that the microbiome is fed throughout the whole digestive tract.
Eat a wide range of plant foods
It’s important to eat lots of different plant foods, not only to produce a variety of healthy bacteria, but also for the polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that have numerous benefits for the body, plus, they also regulate the balance of microbes within the gut, reducing harmful bacteria and stimulating the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Take your Internal Cosmetics!
Qt Internal Cosmetics contain several ingredients that are beneficial to the gut:
- Collagen: Rich in the amino acid glycine, collagen stimulates stomach acid production which improves digestion, and helps your body digest all of the nutrients in your food. And, because our digestive tracts are made up of the same amino acids that are in collagen, it can help to repair the lining of our digestive system, and the infrastructure of our stomach and intestines.
- Natural Silica: This trace mineral is the remains of fossilised algae called diatoms, whose cellular walls were entirely made of silica. The honeycombed shape of the fossilised diatoms, can trap toxins in the digestive tract and clean the inside of the colon as they pass through.
- Activated Charcoal: This form of charcoal has been processed to have small, low‑volume pores, increasing the surface area available for absorption, and can bind to chemicals and toxins in the digestive tract and flush them from the body.
Now that you know a little more about your gut and the hard work it puts in to keep you well, use the information above to nurture a happier gut and enhance your overall wellbeing.
Does gut health ever cross your mind? Do you like to keep your gut happy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.