Over the last five years, you’ve likely heard a lot more about gut health than in the past. In fact, it tends to be a hot topic to discuss in the fitness industry. If you’re not knowledgeable about gut health, we’re going to work on changing that. We’ll take a quick look at what your gut health is comprised of and why it’s so important to take control of it.
What Is Gut Health?
Did you know that there are over 1,000 kinds of bacteria in your gut weighing about four and a half pounds? Each form of bacteria contributes on its own level to support the healthy functioning of the human body. Over time, the actual types of bacteria and their quantity will change with the individual demands of your body.
For example, babies have a high amount of bacteria that are specifically good at breaking down the sugars in breast milk. This is required for optimal function at this age. However, as we age, our gut bacteria tends to adapt to our lifestyle. For example, if you eat a high fiber diet on a consistent basis, you’ll have a high number of the specific type of gut bacteria that specializes in digesting fiber.
Why Is Gut Health Important?
As you learned from above, your gut health is what determines how you digest foods. During the digestion process, if you have the right gut biome, you can pull many vitamins and nutrients out the foods that you eat. When you have poor gut biome, you’ll miss out on many of the helpful nutrients and vitamins from the foods that you eat. Plus, it will likely cause other issues like gas and bloating, which can be extremely uncomfortable to deal with.
Gut health doesn’t stop at your gut either. It affects your immune system, bone health, and brain health. When you ingest unhealthy pathogens present in food, your gut biome goes to work stopping the pathogens from colonizing. This is considered the first line of defense for your immune system. When your gut biome is healthy, it’s highly capable of absorbing calcium into the body. This calcium is highly needed to support bone health. Lastly, our brain health is affected by our gut biome as there’s a direct level of communication through neurotransmitters about our cognition and mood in regards to the foods that we eat.