Gut Health & Inflammation: Is There a Connection?
In recent years, gut health has emerged as a focal point of medical research, influencing everything from our immune system to our emotional well-being. But did you know that an imbalanced gut could also be the silent instigator of chronic inflammation? And chronic inflammation could set you up for more aches and pains later on.
Inevitably, this all comes back to what you eat. Our diet directly impacts gut health and is an important piece in reducing inflammation across the entire body. So, what else should you know? What kind of foods can help reduce inflammation and improve gut health?
Understanding Your Gut Microbiome
Your gut contains trillions of bacteria. These bacteria make up the gut microbiome. Without this collection of bacteria, we wouldn’t be able to digest our food properly. Thus, in many ways, these bacteria and our bodies work in synergy with one another.
Interestingly, these bacteria don’t only play a role when it comes to digesting the food we eat.
The gut microbiome also impacts our health in various ways, affecting metabolism, immunity, and even serotonin production. In fact, imbalances of this gut bacteria can lead to various inflammatory conditions, such as type II diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis, and more.
In other words, the gut microbiome goes beyond digestion. First and foremost, it impacts the absorption of nutrients, which can have a cascading effect on whole-body health. Secondly, certain bacterial imbalances can trigger inflammatory compounds, leading to inflammation and other issues throughout the body.
In turn, we might experience more pain and discomfort, including an increased risk of injuries. So, what can we do about this?
How To Balance Your Microbiome
Your diet has a huge impact on your microbiome. Some things to consider include:
Eating more gut-friendly veggies, like leeks, onions, potatoes, asparagus, and artichokes.
Eliminating processed and pre-packaged foods.
Filling up on probiotics and prebiotics, such as those found in yogurt and fermented foods.
Avoiding antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.
However, it’s not all about what you eat that impacts the microbiome. A few other lifestyle tips include:
Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. (Our body runs on rhythms, which is one of the most important ones!)
Exercising regularly. Movement can help with proper digestion.
Finding ways to de-stress. Stress can lead to changes in digestion and gut bacteria.
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