Understanding Gut Health

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Understanding Gut Health

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to our gut, and we are learning new things about it all the time. While a gastroenterologist can certainly help you treat problems impacting your gut, it’s also important for people to understand their gut, how it works, and ways to keep it healthy. Here are some useful facts that everyone should know about gut health.

The Gut-Brain Connection

Most people don’t think about how their guts impact the rest of their health, so you may be surprised to discover that the gut and brain are interconnected. This means that your anxiety and depression could actually be signs of gut issues. After all, the gut is where the majority of serotonin is produced and 70% of our immune system is also in our guts. For our guts to function optimally, and for us to feel our best, it’s important that we are feeding the good bacteria in our guts and protecting the gut from bad bacteria.

Know the Signs of Gut Issues

While most of us will experience gut problems at some point, it’s also important to recognize recurring or persistent symptoms that might warrant seeing a gastroenterologist for care. Signs of gut problems include,

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pains
  • Loose stools
  • Constipation
  • Unexpected weight loss

Consume More Gut-Healthy Foods

Our food culture is based around a lot of fast, processed foods, so it’s not surprising that so many Americans are dealing with gut problems that could easily be remedied by simply improving their diet. Gut-healthy foods include,

  • Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, and kimchi provide the gut with prebiotics (which feed the probiotics or good bacteria in the gut)
  • Olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Live yogurt and kefir
  • Garlic
  • Lean protein such as wild-caught salmon
  • Low fructose fruits such as berries and citrus fruits

Say No to Common Gut Offenders

American diets are high in sugar and bad fats, so it’s no surprise that our guts are in distress. Some of the most common gut offenders include,

  • Low-fiber diets
  • High sugar diets
  • Vegetable and seed oils
  • Alcohol
  • Antibiotics
  • Medications

If you have to take antibiotics, talk with your gastroenterologist about probiotics and other types of supplements and steps you can take to protect the gut and help repopulate the gut bacteria after taking these medications.

When it comes to concerns about your health, trust your gut! Don’t ignore recurring digestive issues. A gastroenterologist can help you figure out what’s going on and how to best address these issues.

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