4 Contributing Risk Factors of Gut Imbalance

Why Gut Health is Important

Gut health has become a popular topic and for good reason. Over the past few years, research has shown that having an unhealthy gut can contribute to a variety of different health conditions. From mental health, chronic disease, obesity, and digestive issues maintaining a balanced gut microbiome are important. So it should be no surprise that gut health plays a role in the aging process and learning how to avoid certain risk factors that contribute to an imbalance in the gut can improve overall health and decrease the development of chronic disease and health issues.

Gut Health & Aging

Less Diverse Gut Microbiome

A key determining factor in how healthy and balanced your gut is will depend on the developmental phase during infancy where the gut microbiome is actually developing and becoming exposed to a variety of different healthy bacteria. Events such as vaginal birth versus c-section, how long you were breastfed and when solid food was introduced into your diet. These events are what build and create your gut microbiome. Depending on what occurred during these developmental stages will determine if you are more susceptible to allergies or food sensitivities. This relates directly to how diverse the gut microbiome is and how much healthy and thriving gut flora are housed there.

 

 

As we age and progress we tend to alter the balance of our gut microbiome by the foods we eat, lifestyle and habits. This imbalance can cause an issue with our digestive health and lead to digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS),  mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, and issues with chronic fatigue just to name a few. There are 4 risk factors that have a profound effect on the gut microbiome and can alter gut flora and lead to these issues presenting themselves.

 

Consuming a poor diet that consists primarily of highly processed and refined foods that are high in sugar and artificial sweeteners can cause an imbalance of healthy bacteria in the gut. These foods are considered pro-inflammatory and can signal an immune response within the body. They also increase the growth of bad bacteria and yeast within the body.

 

The typical Western diet consists of an abundance of highly processed and refined food and when consumed on a consistent daily basis these foods wreak havoc on our gut and can significantly decrease the number of healthy bacteria that are thriving within. The best way to overcome this is to focus on consuming a majority of whole, minimally processed foods and decreasing or eliminating highly processed and refined foods. Maintaining a diet that is 80% whole and minimally processed and 20% miscellaneous could be a good approach.

 

Consuming gut-friendly foods and decreasing trigger foods and foods that are highly processed and refined is a great way to rebuild the number of healthy gut bacteria. Foods such as fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, and bone broth. Supplementing probiotics, digestive enzymes, glutamine, and collagen powder will aid in repairing existing damage and promote health within the gut.

Exercise is not only good for overall health and fitness but it is also beneficial to your gut health. Thirty to sixty minutes of cardiovascular exercise performed on a regular basis may stimulate an increase in gut microbes. When exercise is coupled with a well-balanced diet and proper supplementation gut flora can flourish and gut health can improve.

While occasional antibiotic use is necessary to prevent infection or overcome infection within the body, using antibiotics on a regular basis can cause imbalances within the gut to present themselves. When you take antibiotics their primary job is to attack bacteria within the body. Since antibiotics have no way of differentiating between bad bacteria or good bacteria a lot of the healthy bacteria that live in your gut are also attacked and destroyed.  This leaves you vulnerable to overproduction of candida (yeast) which can prevent other health issues and concerns (such as yeast infections).

 

Things that you can do if you are taking antibiotics is to take supplements such as L-glutamine, collagen powder and consuming fiber-rich foods to help protect your gut lining while you’re on your antibiotic. Once you’re finished with your antibiotic you will want to repair your gut by consuming gut healing foods such as bone broth, tempeh, probiotic-rich yogurt, miso, kombucha, kimchi, kefir, saurkraut, and returning to taking your probiotic supplement.

We all experience occasional stress or have a particularly tough day, but chronic stress is different from that. Chronic stress involves recurrent stress on a consistent or almost daily basis.  Chronic stress stimulates stress hormone production and wreaks havoc on the digestive system. Common digestive issues associated with chronic stress are indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Releasing these hormones on a consistent basis can lead to imbalances within the gut and the worsening of digestive symptoms.

 

The best way to overcome the effect that stress has on your gut health is to create a solid stress management plan. Incorporating yoga, prayer, self-care rituals, or counseling if necessary can help you in coping with the situations that are causing you distress and anxiety. Your stress management plan should also include a balanced diet, and regular exercise to completely manage your gut health.

Maintaining Gut Health for Life

We all experience occasional stress or have a particularly tough day, but chronic stress is different from that. Chronic stress involves recurrent stress on a consistent or almost daily basis.  Chronic stress stimulates stress hormone production and wreaks havoc on the digestive system. Common digestive issues associated with chronic stress are indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea. Releasing these hormones on a consistent basis can lead to imbalances within the gut and the worsening of digestive symptoms.

 

The best way to overcome the effect that stress has on your gut health is to create a solid stress management plan. Incorporating yoga, prayer, self-care rituals, or counseling if necessary can help you in coping with the situations that are causing you distress and anxiety. Your stress management plan should also include a balanced diet, and regular exercise to completely manage your gut health.

 

If you are struggling to maintain your gut or you want to work on healing and rebuilding your gut I can help you accomplish this. I understand what it is like to struggle with digestive issues and the importance of rebuilding your gut health in order to improve health and well-being. Schedule a complimentary consultation and learn more about how I can help you achieve your gut health goals. To schedule, a consultation send a request to info@180fitspa and I will be more than happy to accommodate a time and date to speak with you regarding what I can offer you with my wellness coaching packages.

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