There are many reasons to support your gut health, as it affects many aspects of your physical and mental well-being. Here are some of the top reasons:
- Gut health influences your immune system. About 70% of your immune cells are located in your gut, and they communicate with the beneficial bacteria that live there. A healthy gut microbiome can help prevent infections, allergies, and autoimmune diseases1.
- Gut health affects your mood and brain function. Your gut and brain are connected by the vagus nerve, which allows them to send signals to each other. The gut bacteria also produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, that regulate your mood, memory, and cognition. A healthy gut can improve your mental health and prevent conditions such as depression, anxiety, and dementia12.
- Gut health impacts your metabolism and weight. Your gut bacteria help digest the food you eat and extract energy and nutrients from it. They also influence your appetite, hormones, and inflammation levels. A healthy gut can help you maintain a healthy weight and prevent metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity23.
- Gut health supports your digestion and nutrient absorption. Your gut bacteria help break down complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that your body cannot digest on its own. They also produce vitamins, such as vitamin K and B12, that are essential for your health. A healthy gut can prevent digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, gas, and irritable bowel syndrome13.
- Gut health protects you from toxins and pathogens. Your gut bacteria form a protective barrier on the lining of your intestines, preventing harmful substances and microorganisms from entering your bloodstream. They also compete with the bad bacteria for resources and space, keeping them in check. A healthy gut can prevent infections, inflammation, and leaky gut syndrome13.
These are some of the top reasons to support your gut health, but there are many more benefits that you can enjoy by taking care of your gut microbiome. To improve your gut health, you can eat more fiber-rich foods, probiotics, and fermented foods; avoid sugar and artificial sweeteners; manage your stress; get enough sleep; exercise regularly; and avoid unnecessary antibiotics23