7 signs of an Unhealthy Gut and ways to improve it
‘You are what you eat’ is not an understatement. Most ailments are linked to gut health and it is evident from recent research findings which prove that both physical and mental health are linked to Gut health. Right gut health diet is crucial for overall well-being.
- Low immunity –Frequent colds or allergy symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, headaches, and sneezing are sometimes signs of an unhealthy gut. It is important to know how to improve gut health naturally to avoid such problems which affect your productivity. When you consume a food or toxin you are sensitive to, it causes inflammation of the gut which in turn alerts the immune system to attack or fight a toxin or an irritant. This irritation can create small holes in the gut lining causing leaking of food particles, pathogenic bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream, this is called leaky gut. This leads to allergies and autoimmune conditions. It is important to eliminate such foods and treat the condition right away. Making the right healthy food choices for your gut health like a plant-based balanced diet, fruits and vegetables, curds, fermented foods, probiotics and prebiotics would help to heal the gut health.
- Gas and bloating–It is normal for the body to produce some amount of gas, but if it is excess then it is one of the signs of an unhealthy gut. Gas is formed due to incomplete digestion of certain components of food such as sugar in dairy products, most grains and whole legumes, some fruits and vegetables, carbonated beverages and artificial sweeteners, gluten and certain carbohydrates, and imbalance in gut bacteria due to an unhealthy gut, irritable bowel syndrome, smoking, chewing gum, antibiotics and some medications, constipation also causes the gas problem. Bacteria in the colon break down these foods and gas is produced during fermentation in the colon. It is important to know what is causing gas and how to improve gut health naturally. Eliminate foods that may be causing the gas, carefully choose the vegetables and fruits, drink water, avoid fatty foods, do not sleep right after having meals, and be active or walk for a few minutes. Improve your gut health by including prebiotics and probiotics, this reduces bad bacteria and adds good bacteria.
- Constipation – It is one of the important signs of an unhealthy gut. It may be due to simple reasons like not drinking enough water, low fiber diet, lack of physical activity or lack of sleep, and certain medications cause, bad gut health due to refined processed foods or other complex issues like hormonal imbalance, problems with colon or rectum, neurological disorders etc. It is important to include foods to improve gut health and make certain lifestyle changes. Drink enough water, avoid too much caffeine, have a regular exercise routine, include fruits like papaya etc. vegetables like beetroot, green leafy veggies which improve gut health, and do not misuse laxatives. Add prebiotics and probiotics to improve gut health, it adds fiber and also adds good bacteria which helps in better digestion and softening of stool.
- Diarrhea – If it is not due to food poisoning or any water-borne infection, diarrhea is an unhealthy gut symptom. It may be due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), celiac disease, food intolerance, celiac disease, medication etc. Address issues like IBS, IBD and eliminate foods that trigger diarrhea, and include foods good for gut health, avoid spicy, oily outside or street foods. Include probiotics to improve gut health.
- Unhealthy cravings – Studies show that bad bacteria in our gut can manipulate us to crave too much sweet or sugary food. So instead of high-calorie guilty options go for dark chocolate or dates instead which are low in calories, but do observe the choices you are making and address the issue with the right kind of food to improve gut health. Prebiotics and probiotics bring back the lost balance in the gut microbiota.
- Brain Fog and fatigue - Feeling like you are just not mentally sharp is surprisingly one of the signs of unhealthy gut health. Unhealthy gut bacteria can contribute to lots of symptoms that do not seem to be linked with gut health. Celiac patients and also some people with non-celiac gluten sensitivity suffer from brain fog. Excluding gluten from the diet and choosing over-the-counter foods very carefully will help. Changing certain high carbohydrate foods, processed foods, adding more fruits and vegetables, drinking water, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, probiotics and prebiotics may positively impact your gut health making you active and alert. Additionally, researchers found that patients suffering from depression were twice as likely to see improvements from probiotics. In summary, improved gut health leads to improved mental well-being.
- Skin problems – Evidence connecting the skin condition with the gut microbiome, is described as the skin-gut axis. Poor diet causes skin problems like rashes, breakouts, and itching which are indirect symptoms of poor gut health. Gut microbiome alteration’s role in the pathogenesis of psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, acne vulgaris, hidradenitis suppurativa, atopic dermatitis and alopecia areata is well documented. A healthy gut diet is the only way to prevent such breakouts. Beneficial gut bacteria both number and diversity are promoted by consuming fermented foods, curds, fruits, vegetables, prebiotics and probiotics which prevent these skin problems.