Want to feel and look your very best? Keep your gut healthy and happy and discover the true benefits of being truly well.
A healthy gut has wonderful benefits. But did you know it is the key to overall wellness?
“How we treat our gastrointestinal (GI) passageway and the substances we choose to put into it have a big impact on our overall health on many levels,” says Mikhaila Todd, who is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specialising in Gut Health and Eating Psychology. “We have the choice with every meal and supplement taken to support our gut health. After diet, managing and alleviating stress are the best ways to improve gut health.”
Here’s how your gut health can affect your life. And what you can do to improve it.
Thyroid, auto immune and hormonal issues that can start from inflammation in the gut, often materialise in the form of weight problems, says Todd.
“Inflammation has increased with the Western Diet being high in poor quality fats and processed foods as these foods negatively influence the microbiome which leads to inflammation and weight gain,” she says.
“Research spotlight is now on the Vagus nerve, a cranial nerve that extends from the brain to bowels and back again, branching out to connect with other major organs through nerve endings. This strongly affects appetite regulation involved with signalling fullness to the brain, regulating insulin, and is the main pathway for ghrelin (the hunger hormone) that plays an important role in gut health.”
When vagal tone is low or the cord isn’t functioning properly, weight problems can be the result.
“Another theory is the body responds to excess fat the same way it does as a pathogen or invader,” she says. “When bacteria in the microbiome are inflamed this promotes obesity. For weight loss or maintenance, the quality of food is more important than caloric restriction. Try aiming to increase your intake of vegetables and whole foods, whilst crowding out nutritionally empty but calorically dense foods. This will help yield the greatest success.”
For extra support, try adding a premium plant-based supplement to your diet. “I like to boost my daily SUPER ELIXIR Greens with a shot of nutrients tailored specially to what I need. Gut Health with Inulin Prebiotic SUPER BOOSTER is formulated with nutrients like Prebiotic Inulin that helps nourish the beneficial intestinal flora and promotes healthy digestive system function. Aquatic Collagen for healthy connective tissue, Ginger extract for settling the stomach, and vitamin C-rich Acerola Cherry for its antioxidant properties that help reduce free radicals formed in the body.
The immune system sends out chemical signals to identify and fight off unwanted substances. This sends information or cues autoimmune reactions in response to the signals that are picked up by immune cells in the gut.
“Auto immune conditions result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors,” says Todd. “Environmental triggers must find their way into the body, the key entry point being the gut. When gut health is compromised it allows even more toxins to get through.”
Immune and gut health go hand-in-hand as 80% of the immune system is in the gut, says Todd, which is why people with auto immune disease tend to have altered gut bacteria.
“Diet has a significant and rapid impact on the variety of your gut microbiota. Certain types of foods can cause changes in the bacterial community within 24 hours (for good or bad). When you consume food that alters the balance of bacteria living in your GI tract, it also affects immune function. Negative symptoms, even when turned on, may have the potential to be turned off when the offensive triggers are removed and replaced with a healthy diet and supplementation, like WelleCo’s Immune System Support with Kakadu Plum. It is formulated with active ingredients including Vitamin C from Kakadu Plum and Acerola Cherry that help provide immune defence for fighting inflammation and supporting immune system health.”
Through the gut-brain axis, changes in the microbiome and digestive system can affect the function and the structure of the brain, causing depression and anxiety. Similarly, changes in cognitive function affect the gut bacterial community and the gastrointestinal system.
“Psychological and emotional stress can affect gut microbiota composition, creating dysbiosis,” she says. “Then this dysbiosis, together with inflammation, can cause metabolic disease, affective disorders and sleep loss. Signs of low vagal tone can be expressed as anxiety, depression, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, inflammation and even loneliness. Research is showing that a diet high in processed sugar results in depression, increased levels of inflammation, worsen anxiety and ADHD.”