Gut Health and its effects on metabolism, weight, hormones and immunity

By Krista Harris | 29 January 2022
4 Minute Read

Saskia Knight of Spring Green Nutrition explains how to look after your gut health and just how important it is to overall health and wellbeing.

Instinct worked with Enigma Wellness, to provide a Gut Health evening, which was all brought to life by Fuel Coffeehouse + Kitchen through delicious gut friendly tasters and nibbles.

Saskia explained that we are the host to an amazing population of microbes and if we take care of them they will look after us in return.

“The best way to think about the gut microbiome is as an ecosystem. Everything is impacted by the happiness of your gut – from hormones, metabolism and weight, to skin health, immunity and brain function to mental wellbeing.”

The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria and other microbes and as humans, we have around 2kg worth of microbes in our gut. It’s so significant that it is considered to be an endocrine organ due to the many useful substances it produces.

A happy gut = a happy host.

These microbes in our gut have a huge impact on our overall health, managing and filtering toxins and helping us digest our foods so that we absorb the maximum nutrients possible. These useful bacteria also influence our immune health by preventing bad bacteria from taking hold and teaching the immune system when and how to react.

The good and bad bacteria compete for space along the gut lining – if the good bacteria are able to grow and thrive, they provide a healthy environment in which many healthy substances are produced for the body to use such as antioxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatory chemicals. 

The gut controls over 70% of our immune system…

The immune system is probably one of the most important functions of the gut and more and more research is showing just how important gut health is to the strength of our immune system. The majority of our immune cells are located in the gut, therefore if our gut isn’t healthy, it affects our ability to ward off infections.

Our suffering immunity and gut health may show up in other ways, through the health of our skin, infection or allergies. This may show up through eczema, rosacea, acne and psoriasis.

The gut microbiome helps produce ‘happy’ hormones…

Serotonin is produced and used largely in the gut and helps regulate our mood, hunger and sleep patterns as well as bowel movements. 

Research is showing that poor gut health and a disrupted gut microbiome can cause low mood, anxiety, sleep issues as well as fatigue, brain fog and other cognitive issues. Everything is linked to the health of our gut!

Signs and symptoms of possible poor gut health (dysbiosis):

  • IBS-like symptoms such as:
    • Abdominal pain 
    • Bloating and gas 
    • Constipation and/or diarrhoea
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Brain fog and fatigue
  • Skin issues
  • Autoimmune conditions
  • Depression and anxiety

How can you improve your gut health?

Saskia suggested many options to improve your gut health, from helping the good bacteria with probiotic foods and supplements, to ensuring your environment, stress levels and exercise regime are not having damaging effects.

Eating a diverse range of fibre-rich foods regularly can help produce the good bacteria which keep your gut happy, and a happy gut = happy host. In addition we can include resistant starches in our diet which are cooked and cooled carbohydrates. These can be reheated, but the process of cooling helps to activate the gut loving nutrients! 

Fuel Coffeehouse + Kitchen prepared some gut friendly foods and smoothies during our Gut Health talk, including some resistant starch, in the form of Tabbouleh Salad. From sauerkraut to kefir smoothies and sourdough bread, we tried a whole range of gut friendly food and the best part – it was all delicious!

Your lifestyle also affects the health of your gut, such as your environment, exercise and the products you use on your skin and in your home. That’s right – even Mr Muscle might affect the health of your gut… 

Living a healthy and calm lifestyle means that your digestive system and metabolism can work effectively which positively impacts our brain health .

Exercise aids gut mobility but also increases the types of good bacteria living in the gut. You can incorporate a range of workouts and intensities into your routine, but it is important not to overdo it because this can cause inflammation and stress in the gut.  

Which foods are good for your gut?

  • Kefir (water/milk/coconut)
  • Kimchi
  • Walnuts
  • Pomegranate seeds 
  • Berries
  • Wholegrains
  • Oats 
  • Almonds 
  • Healthy fats, avocado and fish

Fuel Coffeehouse + Kitchen offers a range of gut friendly food and drink from 8am-2pm every weekday. Tabbouleh salad, overnight oats and sourdough toast are all regulars on Fuel’s menu, and they are all gut friendly, why not pop down after your next workout and refuel.

 

 

 

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