The Power of Your Gut
People are often unaware of the power of their gut. And just to be clear, this means your digestive organs like your stomach, your small intestine and your large intestine. Because how your food gets digested determines the nutrients available to nourish the body. It determines whether you’re inflamed and sickly or vibrant and healthy. In fact, the digestive system is considered the one of the body’s centers of immunity.
And just to be extra clear, you don’t need to be experiencing digestive problems to be experiencing gut problems (though that is definitely a good indication). In fact, any imbalance or illness probably has at least some connection with your gut. And so you might start to understand why taking care of your digestive system is so important.
Your Bathroom Habits
OK, take a deep breath. Because I’m about to talk about something that makes most people very uncomfortable. I’ll let you in on a secret. It makes me uncomfortable too. But it’s important.
Your bathroom habits are an indication of whether your digestive system is in a place of health or in a place of imbalance. And this is important information for not only your future health but also your current waistline. Because, when the digestive system is imbalanced, your also much more likely to gain weight.
So as uncomfortable as it is, taking note of what happens in the bathroom its important. Bowel movements should happen easily without strain. And they should be solid and well formed, like a banana. For a more complete chart on the topic, you can check here.
If you need to strain to “go”, that indicates constipation. When fecal matter sits for extended periods in the colon, rotting waste get reabsorbed by the body. And I don’t think I need to explain why that is problematic.
But the opposite situation isn’t any better. Bowel movements that are loose, badly formed or watery are an indication of food moving through the too digestive system too quickly. The nutrients from what you eat are unlikely to be absorbed. So your efforts to eat healthy are being sabotaged by a digestive system that is just dumping out your good intentions.
Listen to What Your Gut is Saying
As uncomfortable as it is, it is important to pay attention to what your gut is saying. So, if you’re been ignoring your digestive system for too long, now is the time to take notice. Because only with knowledge can you start to heal.
Other Symptoms of a Gut Imbalance
Not everyone experiences the same symptoms with a gut imbalance. Here are some other potential signs that something is amiss with the digestive system.
- Skin problems
- Autoimmune Disease
- Seasonal allergies
- Lack of Energy
- Cloudy Thinking
Why This is Happening
There are many reasons there might be an imbalance in the gut. Here are some very common examples.
- A history of antibiotic or birth control pill usage
- Too much stress
- Too much sugar
- A highly processed diet
- Food sensitivities
- Body Infections
How to Help the Gut
While there is no easy answer, there are some steps that must be taken to help regain health in gut.
First, you must remove whatever is contributing to the imbalance. This might mean eating less sugar, consuming more whole foods and determining which foods are creating a negative response in the gut.
Second, you need to replenish the gut flora with beneficial bacteria. This can be achieved by eating fermented foods like kimchi, tempeh and kambucha. However, many imbalances are advanced enough to require a higher dose probiotic supplement. Taking prebiotics are also beneficial.
Third, focus on healing the gut. Here is a list of various nutrients used to repair. These aren’t the only beneficial options, but this list is a good place to start.
- Raw Coconut Oil
- Flax Seeds
- Vegetable Juices
- Raw Vegetables
- Digestive Enzymes
Try to include at least 3 of these daily when repairing the gut.
Health & Weight Loss
You want to feel healthier and more vibrant in your own life. Or maybe you just feel stuck in a rut with your mood or your energy. Or you’re battling the scale without permanent results. Then you probably need to look to your gut.
Society tells us not to talk about certain topics. But their discussion is imperative to good health. So start becoming aware. And from there, you can start to heal.
Sabrina Quairoli says
Listening to our body is a good way to figure out how we are doing. And the gut is a great indication of how you are feeling, whether you are healthy or not so healthy. It’s important to note that not all digestive enzymes works for everyone. I tried several different brands. Some worked and some did not. Thanks for sharing this not so talked about topic.
You gave me a great topic for a future blog. Because all supplements are never the same no matter what you use. But that’s not something of really talked about in my blog…as of yet!
Donna Janke says
It’s amazing how many health problems can be traced to gut imbalance. This is an area we seem to be just beginning to understand.
This isn’t something really addressed my Western medicine. The focus is more on abating symptoms. So hopefully this will be discussed more as we go forward.
Your body tries to make one understand what it is dealing with, we need to pick up the signs. Last time I ignored my health I was in the wheelchair for 3 months.
Thanks for the info share Erica!
Sushmita, how scary. I’m glad you found your way back to health.
Kristina Rylova says
Erica, very sensitive topic & I think you managed to cover it very well. I totally agree that you need to carefully observe your health and try to understand what your body is telling you and adjust your routine accordingly.
Thanks Kristina. Listening to our bodies is always a good thing, I think!
Ken Dowell says
An especially informative post this week Erica. I’m a little surprised at some of the symptoms which on the surface seem unrelated to your digestive system.
Ken, I was shocked too when I first heard about this. I had symptoms for years that didn’t seem to have anything to do with digestion so I was shocked to learn that the problem was really in my gut.
Thank you for this post. As sensitive as it is, people need to be aware of what goes on inside their body. It is easy to just carry on with life even though deep down you know something is not quite right.
We need to take care of our insides just as much as we do with our outer appearance.
Right? You said it so well. That’s what I love about working with weight loss. I love that I “trick” people to focus on their inside by luring them with promises of a better outside.
Marquita Herald says
Fascinating Erica. I actually learned a bit about the importance of the gut many years ago when I was suffering a variety of symptoms, including intense stomach pain and ugly rashes. In my case, a thorough physical exam and a couple of heartfelt chats with my family doctor revealed it was stress and stuffed anger causing my body to rebel. But that experience taught me to have a healthy respect for the messages my body sends me, wherever they may show up. 🙂
Stress will create all sorts of imbalances. So you had a smart doctor who noticed that stress was the tipping point for you.
William Rusho says
What a very informative post. I know I have felt so much better by taking probiotics. I also must say that hydration is very important also. Drinking water can assist in digestion very much.
Dehydration is such a big problem for so many of us. And once we feel thirsty, we’re already dangerously dehydrated! Glad to hear that probiotics have been so helpful for you. I just got my husband onto them and he really is surprised by how much better he feels.
RoseMary Griffith says
What a great blog, Erica. You cut right to the heart of the situation and laid it all out there. I admire that. I tend to avoid the things that send my gut into a tizzy–red meat, fried foods, that kind of thing. That’s not too hard, it’s the sneaky foods I have to watch for and try to balance out the good foods!
Ah, yes..the sneaky foods! Glad you avoid the ones that you KNOW are problems for you. That’s a great start!
I think I have the Fort Knox of digestion systems, but many of my friends are constantly bugged by this or that ailment related to digestion. It’s good to know so many different things can be done for such issues.
There are really lots of ways to address digestion concerns. Taking medication is just one of the options (and should be done only while trying to heal!)
Wow, this was surprisingly informative. I didn’t know that gut problems can lead to so many other problems. Thank you for sharing this with us!
Glad you found this information, Rosary. Gut problems can be sneaky in the way they show symptoms.
Natasha Bolger says
You have given me a lot of information that I didn’t know about a gut imbalance. I’ve had issues with my bowel movements before and this post has given me more of an insight to our digestive system and health related factors.
Glad this was helpful, Natasha. Gut imbalances can feel horrible so I hope you don’t have to experience them going forward.