How Does Diet Impact Gut Health and What Can I Do to Improve It?

You have heard of gut health right? And aware of the benefits of having “good gut health”. However , what does having a healthy gut actually entail? It entails maintaining the proper ratio of other microorganisms and small bacteria in your digestive system. 

What is gut health?

The digestive system, also referred to as the “gut,” is a multifaceted network of tissues and organs, each of which has a specific function in the digestion and absorption of food. These comprise the stomach, esophagus, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, mouth, and small and large intestines.

The microbiota is an ecosystem, or “community” of microbes that live in the gut (microscopic organisms). There are roughly 500 species of known microbes, and the majority of them are viruses, fungi, yeasts, and bacteria. If you are experiencing any gut related disorders reach out to the best hospital in Coimbatore for stomach to improve gut health

Why is the gut known as the second brain so often?

Because of the millions of nerve cells, or neurons, that line the gut and release important messengers known as neurotransmitters, your digestive system is also referred to as “second brain”. These enable the stomach to maintain tight communication with the brain and central nervous system, potentially affecting our emotions and moods. 

Some of these neurotransmitters, like serotonin which is produced in the gut to a large extent, are largely influenced by bacteria in our stomach. Serotonin, which is produced in the gut and is sometimes referred to as “happy hormone”, is not likely to affect mood because it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. However, it does play a role in immune system modulation and digestion regulation.

What is meant by the gut microbiome?

All of the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside of humans is known as the microbiome. These microorganisms can be found in the skin, throat, mouth, stomach, uterus, ovarian follicles, colon, prostate, ears, lungs, and eyes, among other places. The human body contains roughly 10,000 distinct microbial species. Aerobic bacteria need oxygen to survive, but anaerobic bacteria do not.  Microbiologists classify bacteria into these two groups. While bacteria that flourish in the gut are typically anaerobic, those that live on the skin are aerobic. 

What should you know about gut microbiome? What should you know about it?

The gut microbiome is composed of various bacterial strains, some beneficial and others potentially harmful. A healthy microbiome boasts a diverse range of “good bacteria” that contribute to:

Nutrient absorption: 

They break down complex dietary components, making essential nutrients readily available for our bodies. 

Immune function:

They help regulate the immune system and protect against harmful pathogens. 

Inflammation control:

They produce short-chain fatty acids that help reduce inflammation in the gut and throughout the body. 

Mood regulation:

They communicate with the brain through the gut-brain axis, influencing mood and cognitive function. However, an imbalanced gut microbiome, with an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, can lead to:

Digestive issues:

Poor gut health can develop as abdominal bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea.

Weakened immune system:

It can increase susceptibility to infections and autoimmune diseases. 

Chronic inflammation:

This can contribute to various health problems including obesity, heart disease, and even certain cancers.

How does diet affect gut health?

The food choices we make directly impact the gut microbiome. Here’s how different dietary components influence gut health:

Fiber:

Found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, fiber act as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut and promoting their growth. A high-fiber diet helps nurture a diverse and healthy microbiome and also improves gut health. 

Sugar:

Excessive sugar intake, especially refined sugars and added sugars, can fuel the growth of harmful bacteria and disrupt the gut balance. This can lead to inflammation and contribute to various health concerns. 

Processed foods:

Often filled with unhealthy fats, refined carbohydrates, and artificial additives, processed foods can negatively impact the gut microbiome. They lack the beneficial nutrients and fiber needed for a healthy gut environment. 

Fats:

While excessive saturated and unhealthy fats can be harmful, moderate intake of healthy fats, like those found in olive oil, avocados, and oily fish, can be beneficial. These healthy fats may support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut.

Probiotics:

These are live microorganisms found in fermented foods like yogurt. They can directly add benefits to the gut, potentially improving gut health and relieving digestive issues. 

What are the tips to improve your gut health?

By incorporating best diet for gut health along with following other healthy lifestyle habits, you can actively nourish and nurture your gut microbiome:

Have a fiber-rich diet:

  • Try to get between 25 and 35 grams of fiber each day.
  • Make sure your diet is rich in whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.  
  • Gradually increase your fiber intake to avoid potential digestive discomfort. 

Limit processed foods and sugars:

  • Reduce your intake of sugary drinks, packaged snacks, and processed foods.
  • Choose whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible. 
  • Be mindful of hidden sugars in condiments, dressing, and prepared meals. 

Explore probiotic-rich foods:

  • Regularly consume fermented food for gut health like yogurt.
  • You can also incorporate probiotic supplements after consulting your gastroenterologist. 

Make healthy fats your prioritize:

  • Include moderate amounts of healthy fats from sources like nuts, olive oil, seeds, and even fatty fish.
  • Limit unhealthy fats from processed foods and fried dishes. 

Stay hydrated:

  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support gut function and digestion. 
  • Limit sugary drinks and opt for water or unsweetened drinks.

Manage stress:

  • Chronic stress can negatively impact gut health.
  • Practice stress-management techniques like meditation and yoga.

Maintain regular sleep cycle:

  • Every night, try to get between seven and eight hours of quality sleep.
  • Adequate sleep plays a vital role in overall health, including gut function.

Exercise regularly:

  • For the sake of your general health and gut health, get regular exercise.

Important Takeaway:

Your gut health is extremely important to maintain a healthy life. It is important to help the gut microbiome to stay healthy by following certain healthy lifestyle tips and making changes to your diet. Reach out to a stomach specialist hospital in Coimbatore to seek immediate care and treatment for stomach disorders.


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