So what is gut health and why is it so important? We asked Nutritionist Hannah Trueman to explain...
Gut health refers to the physiological state and function of the digestive system or gastrointestinal tract (GIT) and encompasses every structure, organ and process your food encounters along its journey into, through and out of your body.
Within the gut, a complex ecosystem of trillions of bacteria, fungi and other microbes exists, known as the microbiome. There is an ever-growing body of research surrounding the microbiome and the profound impact it has on literally every area of physical and mental health.
The GIT is where the vital process of digestion occurs. This is where our body breaks down the food and beverages we consume into substances that can be used for energy, growth and cell repair. It’s also where waste products and toxins are eliminated. Ultimately the better our digestion is working, the more goodness we are able to extract from our food meaning that the cells of our body have more nutrients and energy available to carry out their functions and keep us healthy.
Efficient elimination of waste is essential for optimal health to reduce toxic burden on the body’s detoxification pathways. Suboptimal digestive functioning can result in nutrient deficiencies, unpleasant digestive symptoms (excess gas, bloating, reflux, constipation, diarrhoea), compromised immune function, increased susceptibility to chronic disease and more. This is due, not only to the nutritional status of an individual and the level of toxic burden, but the fact that the GIT, specifically the microbiome, plays a significant role in regulating immune function, endocrine (hormonal, but not just our reproductive hormones) and cognitive (brain) function.
In short - improving your gut health will drastically improve every other area of your physical and mental health.
Hannah is a holistic nutritionist (BSc) with a special interest in brain health, cognitive function and the scope of nutrition in improving mental health and reducing cognitive decline. Follow Hannah on Instagram for delicious recipes and health tips: https://www.instagram.com/kinderkitchen.co/