Is Your Gut Healthy?

Of all the aspects of personal health that we each need to be aware of, one which often gets overlooked is gut health. But as more science emerges on this subject, it is appearing to become clearer and clearer that we need to take gut health as seriously as any other aspect of our health. A healthy gut microbiome is essential not only to properly break down the foods you’re eating, but also for nutrient absorption and toxin elimination—meaning that when your gut flora is out of whack, serious problems can ensue. Among those problems are bloating, inflammation, various skin issues like acne—even diabetes, poor sleep, lower levels of happiness, and obesity are tied to the health state of your gut.


Woman in Black Shirt Showing Her Belly




What Is Gut Health?


First of all, let’s think about what gut health really is in the first place, as there does often seem to be a lot of confusion around it. Your gut obviously refers to your entire digestive system, not just the stomach itself, so there are a lot of considerations that will often need to be thought about as part of this. Also,  about 70 percent of the immune system is housed in the gut.  This means whatever happens in your gut affects your entire body and health.



The Gut Microbiome


One of the major aspects that you need to know about if you are going to better care for your gut is the gut microbiome. But what is this? In simple terms, the gut microbiome is a system of trillions of bacteria in your digestive system. You can think of each individual human being as having their own unique kind of microbiome, and its balance is necessary for a healthy person to remain so. Essentially, this is like its own micro ecosystem, in which there is plenty of flora and fauna that needs to stay in a good balance with one another.


This is important, because very often people who have gut problems have gut microbiomes which are not as diverse as others. So this is one of the major things that you will probably want to focus on if you are trying to keep your gut as healthy as possible.



Out of Order Text on Persons Belly



Why Is It Important?


You might be wondering why the gut is so important, and what it might affect in the rest of the body or the mind. As it happens, your gut health is related to many other important aspects to your health, and you can think of it as a vital part in the whole bodily process in this way. In particular, if you have a poor gut, you will find that it affects your body’s immune system and therefore your ability to keep illnesses at bay, the health of your brain and how well your brain functions, including how much serotonin is released, and how easily your body is absorbing the necessary nutrients that it needs to be healthy.



The Signs You Shouldn’t Ignore


It is therefore important that you know what it looks like when you have an unhealthy gut, so you can work to improve it as soon as possible and limit the damage to those other important parts of the body and mind. You might be operating under the impression that you would be distinctly aware of any gut problems, as surely they would lead to discomfort and pain. But this is not always the case, and it’s good if you are aware of the full range of symptoms that can be pointed to as a result of poor gut health.


One of the clearest signs that your gut is in trouble is that you do indeed have a lot of discomfort down there. This can take the form of feeling bloated, having a lot of flatulence, being constipated or, on the other hand, having diarrhea. These are all clear signs that there is something wrong, even if only in the short term, and they should not be ignored.



Then there are the less clear or less commonly associated signs that are still very telltale, and these are things that you might want to be aware of in order to ensure that you are looking after your health as best as you can. For instance, you might find that your weight changes a lot very quickly, or that you are gaining or losing weight without really knowing why. If that is happening, and you really can’t point to any specific lifestyle changes that caused it, there might be an imbalance in your gut’s microbiome, and you would need to improve that as best as you can.


At other times, you might find that you have certain changes in your skin. This might include irritation of the skin, or more serious conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. If this happens and you can’t determine another reason why, then it might well be that your gut is in trouble, and that you need to do something about it.


So far we have seen why the gut is so important and why you need to take care of its health. We’ve also looked at some of the most common signs that you are having gut problems that need to be rectified. But how do you actually go about rectifying them? Next up, we will start to look at some of the best solutions for improving your overall gut health, so that you can enjoy all of the benefits that come with that.


Improving & Maintaining Your Gut Health


So if you are keen to make sure you are keeping your gut health in a good state, what can you do? There are many potential solutions that you might want to look at here, and in the remainder of this article we will look at some of the most effective of these. All of the following are going to help you to keep your gut health right where it should be, no matter what else might be happening for you in your life or with regard to your health in general.





I’ve written often that we need real, whole food in our diets. Fast food are a fast way to ruin your body with so many problems. Eat a varied diet trying to include a diverse range of plant-based foods and less animal based.  Prebiotic foods such as onions, garlic and leeks, will help the good bacteria in your gut to thrive.  Fiber from fruit, vegetables, and whole grains aids digestion and encourages healthy bowel movements. Probiotic foods such as yogurt and fermented foods include strains of good bacteria similar to those in your gut.  A few years ago I did a post discussinng the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.  Using a raw organic apple cider vinegar in the kitchen will help keep your digestive system happy.  If you like yogurt, look for oranic yogurt which is plain and just add a little honey or maple syrup and fresh fruit.



Health Benefits & Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar



Manage Your Stress


As with many other aspects of one’s personal health, you are always going to be able to improve things here by keeping your stress levels as low as possible. If you find it hard to manage your stress, you might need to take a look at just what it is that your mind is doing all day long. Developing some simple mindfulness and keeping the mind steady can be very helpful in all this. This is a very clear example of when the mind and body interact – by looking after the mind, you really are looking after your very gut.


Stock Up On Herbs


There are many things that you can eat to ensure that you are keeping your gut healthy, but one thing in particular to focus on is your intake of herbs. Herbs and spices are known for their varied abilities to keep your digestive system healthy, so this really is a no-brainer.  Whatever your favorite herbs for digestive health might be, just make sure you are eating plenty of them every day. The great thing about herbs is you can easily fit them into meals without too much trouble.


Keep Your Toxins Low


A lot of the stuff that people say about toxins is not really science. There are not a lot of toxins floating around your body, and you can’t do anything to ‘detox’ your body any more than it already does so itself. But if you are drinking a lot of alcohol, for instance, then you are definitely going to improve things by changing that, and this might feel as though you are detoxifying your body in some way. Keep your toxins low in this sense, and your microbiome in the gut is absolutely going to be in a healthier state.




Assorted Sliced Fruits in White Ceramic Bowl




Keep The Heart Rate Up


This doesn’t mean that you should aim to never rest, of course, but you do need to get plenty of physical activity if you are going to keep your gut as healthy as possible. If you are struggling to move around enough for this to make a difference, it might be time to renew the gym membership and get out there. Getting lots of exercise will boost the bacteria in your gut in a very good way, and you will find that you are able to experience many positive changes as a result of this.



As you can see, it’s not all that complex. As long as you take those basic steps, you should be able to keep your gut health strong – and then enjoy the many benefits that will come along with that.



Clear Glass Cup






This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own.


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I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

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