The gut is incredibly complex and important to our overall health.

Our immune system, mental health, skin, food intolerance, autoimmune diseases and even cancer have been linked to our gut health. Stress levels, lack of sleep, processed food and even antibiotics can damage our ‘gut microbiome’, which in turn may affect other aspects of our health.

What is the gut microbiome?

The term ‘gut microbiome‘ refers to microorganisms living in your intestines.

Typically, most people have around 300 to 500 different species of bacteria in their digestive tract. While some are harmful, many are beneficial and necessary to our health.

Having a wide variety of ‘good bacteria’ in your gut can enhance your immune system function, combat obesity, reduce symptoms of depression while providing numerous other benefits.

Do you have an unhealthy gut?

There are a number of ways it might demonstrate itself – here are 7 things to be aware of:

 

Woman with hot water bottle on her stomach

1. Stomach upsets

Most of us suffer following a curry night, but if you experience flatulence, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, or heartburn regularly, these could be signs of an unhealthy gut. People with a balanced gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.

Processed food, burger and chips

2. Processed foods & sugars

High sugar and processed food diets reduce ‘good bacteria’ in your gut, with the imbalance causing sugar cravings, leading to further damage. Large amounts of refined sugars, have been linked to increased inflammation in the body, which can be a precursor to a number of diseases.

A pair of feet on weighing scales

3. Unexpected weight changes

An imbalanced gut can impair your ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and store fat leading to yoyo-ing of your weight without you making changes to your diet or exercise routine.

Exhausted man asleep on wooden chair with book over his face

4. Insomnia or poor sleep

Serotonin is a hormone that affects mood and sleep and is produced in the gut. If you find you suffer from insomnia or poor sleep, an unhealthy gut may be contributing.

eczema sufferer itching arm

5. Skin conditions

Poor diet or food allergies may cause ‘leaking’ of certain proteins into the body, which in turn irritates the skin causing conditions such as eczema.

Lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting a young girl

6. Autoimmune conditions

Research suggests an unhealthy gut may increase inflammation and alter the proper functioning of the immune system, which in turn can lead to autoimmune diseases, a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body rather than harmful invaders.

A dairy cheese platter

7. Intolerance to certain food

It’s thought that food intolerances may be caused by poor quality bacteria in the gut, which can lead to difficulty digesting certain foods. Resulting symptoms may include bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and nausea.

 

How can you improve your gut health?

  • If you have taken a course of antibiotics, you may not realise that they kill both good and bad bacteria, so try and eat foods that will boost your ‘good bacteria’. Eating more fibre, fruit, vegetables, nuts, pulses, and whole grains will help.
  • If your diet is low in fibre, a sudden increase can cause wind and bloating. To avoid this, make gradual changes and drink plenty of water.
  • Get back to basics! Eat more vegetables, sleep more, stress less. Find out more in the post here.
  • A specialised gut health supplement such as Symprove can help restore the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut particularly after a course of antibiotics.
  • Fast food is very tempting, but all things in moderation! Typically fast food often contains ingredients that will suppress your guts ‘good bacteria’ and increase the bad.
  • Probiotic foods, such as live yoghurt, might encourage more ‘good bacteria’ to grow. However, Symprove is a better choice — being water based, it doesn’t trigger digestion, meaning it survives and thrives the hostile environment of your stomach.

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