The gut is made up of a series of organs. It runs from your mouth through the stomach, liver, small intestine, pancreas, gallbladder to your bowels. Collectively these organs work together to intake and absorb nutrients and water.
Inside our gut, we have microbiota which consists of millions of things known as microbes, such as bacteria, yeast, viruses and fungi). Each microbiome (the collective name for microbes) is unique to each person.
There will be an array of microbes in a healthy gut, all fulfilling different roles to keep things ticking over; this is known as a ‘balanced’ gut. When balanced, the microbiome will aid digestion, break down food, make vitamins and nutrients, protect our body against the contents of the gut and the overgrowth of bacteria, influence our mood and impact our immune system.
When our microbiome becomes unbalanced, when you have less diversity in microbes, it may have a negative impact on our body. Research has shown that our gut can cause raised inflammation, digestive issues, skin problems, mental health issues and a range of other factors if the microbiome is not healthy.
Some scientists have found links with some types of gut bacteria and conditions such as asthma or allergies. Recently, some forms of bacteria may be related to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Although we are still trying to piece together the whole picture of the gut and the impact of different microbes, we know that maintaining a healthy gut could help prevent specific issues within the body and the mind.
When it comes to looking after your microbiome and your gut, there are simple actions you can take to improve your gut health. Avoiding processed foods and sugary foods and eating various plant-based foods can allow the good bacteria to thrive. Also, exercising regularly and trying to reduce stress levels (meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are great ways to do this) are great for your general health and can positively impact your gut.
If you’d like to know how healthy your gut is, the Functional Gut Test is an innovative test to identify your gut health and provide you with a gut health score and recommendations on improving your gut health. You can shop the test here.