What’s your gut telling you?
They say the way to a person's happiness is through their stomach and they weren't lying...
Trust us when we say the gut is far more interesting than it sounds. You’ve probably heard that scientists call it the ‘second brain’ because it has the ability to affect everything from heart health and premature ageing to weight gain and depression. Cue our easy-to-digest guide to gut health and happiness…
Unless you suffer from IBS, colitis or Crohn’s disease, you probably don’t pay much attention to your gut. Why would you? But the gut, or gastrointestinal tract – a tube that runs from the stomach to the bowel, via the intestines, forming the digestive system – is integral to our health.
‘A weakened, damaged gut affects everything from our heart, brain and immune system to our skin and how happy we feel,’ says Dr Vincent Pedre, a New York-based physician and author of new bookHappy Gut.‘It can lead to so much more than bloating and food intolerances.’ Put simply, if our gut isn’t healthy, we aren’t healthy.
I can just tell by looking at somebody’s face how healthy their gut is,’ says nutritionist Vicki Edgson. ‘An unhealthy gut and overloaded digestive system will show in dull, tired-looking eyes, dark circles, eczema, inflamed spots and a puffy face.’
A recent study from the University of Turku in Finland found that eczema sufferers have slightly different gut bacteria to those who don’t have eczema. ‘The gut has a tissue layer that’s similar to that of skin, so if you’re experiencing imbalances in this layer, it will show on the skin’s surface,’ adds nutritionist Norton. ‘Similarly, if you’re not effectively absorbing the nutrients from your food (because of low levels of beneficial bacteria in the gut) you may not be getting enough skin-nourishing vitamins.’
Gut health and bloating
Most of us don’t even realise what a healthy gut feels like, according to nutritionist Amelia Freer (Brit winner Sam Smith credits her with his two-stone weight loss). ‘Many people think it’s normal to wake up with a relatively flat stomach then gradually see and feel it expand throughout the day. But it’s not,’ says Freer, author ofEat, Nourish, Glow. ‘A healthy gut means no daily bloating, gas, constipation, discomfort or tiredness after eating. You’ll also have better-quality sleep, more energy and fewer mood swings.’
Our body is home to 100 trillion bacteria, and most of them live in the gut, where there’s a constant tug of war between good and bad. The build-up of bad bacteria, caused by toxins in the food we eat, is neutralised by the friendly bacteria to keep our immune system stable.
Video: WHAT IS MY 'GUT' FEELING TELLING ME? | PICK-A-CARD INTUITIVE READING
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