Gut Health: 6 Factors That Can Harm Your Gut
Posted by Naturelova on 13th Feb 2023
Gut Health: 6 Factors That Can Harm Your Gut
Having good gut health entails striking the correct balance of microbes and bacteria in your digestive tract. Even though this is critical for general well-being, most people ignore the importance of good gut eubiotics.
If you do not enjoy stomach discomforts such as gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, etc., it is time to make some lifestyle changes. But first, it is essential to understand what factors are affecting your gut health.
In this article, you can learn the signs of an unhealthy gut and also identify some of the probable causes behind it. You will be surprised how you can boost your overall health just by promoting healthy gut flora.
Signs of Poor Gut Health
Having stomach disturbances is the most obvious sign of poor gut health. If you do not have a balanced gut, your digestive tract will find it difficult to process and eliminate food efficiently. It can also lead to food intolerances and cause upset stomach, nausea, and abdominal pain.
While these are some clear signs of an unhealthy gut, there are some other signs you need to look out for. For example, unintentional changes in weight or high blood sugar levels may hint towards an imbalanced gut.
Not having balanced gut flora can impair your digestive system’s ability to utilise nutrients, store fat, and control blood sugar. Inflammation or insulin resistance can cause weight gain. On the other hand, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth can lead to malabsorption and weight loss.
An imbalance in gut bacteria can also cause sleep disturbances. Short sleep durations and fragmented sleep can, in turn, lead to constant fatigue, which can be linked to hampered metabolic function, inflammation, and mental health.
Insufficient levels of good bacteria in the gut can affect the immune system and harm the organs, including the skin. For example, poor gut flora can cause skin irritation and trigger skin conditions such as psoriasis. But that’s not all; systemic inflammation due to an unhealthy gut can alter how your immune system functions and trigger autoimmune diseases.
6 Factors That Can Harm Your Gut Health
Eating Insufficient Fibre and Inadequate Probiotics-Rich Foods
A healthy gut requires a diverse and rich gut flora. Without a balanced diversity, gut bacteria cannot perform at their peak and will not be able to fight against harmful influences such as antibiotics or infection. The best way to maintain this balance is by eating gut-healthy foods.
By eating more fibre, you can encourage a more diverse gut flora. Include vegetables, fruits, and whole grains in your diet. The right diet can provide nutrition and rally the growth of gut bacteria. Alternatively, a diet high in added sugars and processed food will disrupt the diversity in the gut, especially for children. Making certain changes to your and your children’s diet by including probiotic-rich food can show a positive impact on gut health in a matter of a few days. You can also add natural prebiotics and probiotic supplements to your diet to ensure your gut is always healthy.
Over-Consumption of Alcohol and Smoking
It is common knowledge that alcohol consumption is addictive. Too much alcohol consumption can lead to severe mental and physical problems. As far as gut health is concerned, large amounts of alcohol consumption can cause gut dysbiosis and other serious concerns.
Moderate amounts of alcohol, such as red wine, can promote gut health, but too much alcohol consumption will be detrimental. Smoking can have a similar impact on your digestive system.
Smokers are prone to gut dysbiosis, peptic ulcers and heartburn. The chances of inflammatory bowel disease and Crohn’s disease are also higher with smokers. Moreover, excessive smoking also makes these health concerns difficult to treat.
Regular use of Antibiotics
If you take strong antibiotics to treat bacteria-led diseases and infections, you might notice your gut health deteriorate. This is because these medicines treat strep throat, urinary tract infections, and other ailments by controlling the bacteria population in your body.
Antibiotics will either prevent bacteria from multiplying or simply kill them. Even though this helps combat serious illnesses, it can also kill both the good and bad bacteria in your gut - thus affecting your gut flora.
You will be surprised that taking even one course of antibiotic treatment can have a significant impact on the bacterial balance in your gut. Also, prolonged use of antibiotics can lower your natural immunity developed through probiotics and hence create a dependency on antibiotics even more.
In addition to reducing the diversity in your digestive tract, antibiotics can also increase the number of resistant strains of bacteria in your body. So, you should make it a point to have some probiotics supplements along with your antibiotics to maintain the level of microbes in your gut.
Not Making Exercise Part of Your Routine
Physical activities, such as walking, swimming, cycling, or gardening, have many benefits. While exercise can lower stress, stimulate weight loss, and reduce the chances of chronic illnesses, lack of it can wreak havoc on your body over time.
One such consequence of not exercising is compromised gut health. If you do not have an active lifestyle, your gut will not have an abundance of Akkermansia, Bifidobacterium, and other health-promoting bacteria.
Don’t worry; you do not need to be an athlete! All you need is some low-to-moderate intensity physical activity a few times a week.
Increase in Stress Levels
A healthy lifestyle entails more than a balanced diet and physical activities. To be healthy, you must also keep your stress levels in check. A high level of stress is not good for the body. It can slow down blood circulation, increase sensitivity, and cause changes to gut bacteria.
Excessive stress can produce noticeable changes in gut diversity and also change gut profiles. In addition, exposure to stress can increase harmful bacteria such as Clostridium and reduce friendly ones like Lactobacillus.
Some studies prove that early life stress can lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). So, keeping your stress levels low can be beneficial for your gut health.
Lack of Proper Rest
Another factor that contributes to your overall health is sleep. The more well-rested your body is, the better it will function. So not getting sufficient rest can affect not only your heart’s health and cause obesity but also damage your digestive health.
Your circadian rhythm can affect your body, brain, and hormones. Your gut follows this internal clock too. Disrupting the body’s rhythm by sleeping late or not getting enough can harm gut bacteria. If you want healthy gut flora, try to get proper rest.
Gut health is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated parts of overall health. Therefore, it is vital to notice minor discomforts in your body and know when they are hinting towards a faulty gut. In general, you will also benefit from understanding the factors that can affect your gut health.
While most people correctly associate a healthy, well-balanced diet with good gut health, the other factors are often ignored. For example, physical activity, proper rest, and stress can also encourage good gut flora.
For a healthy gut, also try to avoid excessive smoking and drinking. You can also benefit from taking natural probiotics and digestive supplements to solve gut problems.