Your digestive system is full of bacteria, and these bacteria can impact your health in both positive and negative ways. Both good and bad bacteria are always present. Diet, stress and other factors can negatively affect the bacterial balance, creating various health issues. Taking antibiotics can also kill off much of the good bacteria, and allows the harmful bacteria to take over. Maintaining a healthy gut biome is essential for your overall health and can impact aspects of your health in the following ways.
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1. Your Immune System
The majority of your immune cells are found inside your digestive system. It makes sense that gut bacteria can majorly impact your immune system.
The good bacteria inside your gut help to fight off and kill much of the bad bacteria. However, if the bacterial balance is thrown off, the bad bacteria can outnumber the good. Studies have shown that this can increase the risk of developing various diseases. Evidence suggests that some gut bacteria can cause inflammation of the intestines, eventually triggering celiac disease. When this happens, the main treatment is to switch to a gluten-free diet.
There is also evidence linking certain types of cancer to an imbalance of gut bacteria. One such example is colon cancer, which studies have shown is linked to an interaction between your immune system, gut bacteria and the cells that line the inside of the colon.
Gut bacteria also play a role in digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). The most common reason these issues occur is from eating high FODMAP foods, which are foods that contain a high level of fermentable sugars. When you eat those foods, the bacteria in your gut break the sugars down and cause them to ferment, which creates gas. This leads to bloating, diarrhea and other digestive problems. The easiest way to prevent these issues is to try to a low-FODMAP meal plan.
2. Your Heart
Gut health can also affect your heart and cardiovascular system. Specifically, there is a link between gut bacteria, high cholesterol and heart disease. When you eat foods like eggs and red meat, some of your gut bacteria produce a chemical that your liver converts to trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO). Some evidence shows that high levels of TMAO make it easier for cholesterol to stick inside your arteries, which can eventually lead to heart disease.
For this reason, many doctors and dieticians recommend adopting a Mediterranean diet, and the easiest way to accomplish this is to sign up for a Mediterranean diet meal delivery plan. This diet includes lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, fish and whole grains. The American Heart Association states that it is by far the best diet for decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and improving heart health.
Source: Elena Eryomenko
3. Your Brain
Scientists have been researching the gut-brain axis for years. What you eat directly affects your gut bacteria, which in turn affects your mood and mental health. A diet high in processed or sugary foods has the effect of feeding bad bacteria. On the other hand, a healthy diet can help the beneficial bacteria to thrive and thus improve your mental health.
Stress and gut health are also directly related. Stress can harm the gut biome, creating a vicious cycle. Additionally, stress can lead to poor gut health, which in turn leads to mood problems and causes more stress and more gut problems.
4. Your Sleeping Patterns
If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can throw off the bacterial balance. Simultaneously, poor gut health can also throw off your internal clock and affect how well you sleep. It is thought that poor gut health increases the risk of insomnia and can make the condition worse.
5. Your Skin
What you eat can also have an impact on your skin. Studies link psoriasis and other common skin conditions to a higher concentration of bad gut bacteria. On the other hand, a healthy gut biome is shown to reduce other skin ailments like acne, rosacea and eczema.
Some foods can trigger allergic reactions in certain people. If you’re allergic to a specific food, eating it can result in rashes, itchiness and increased skin redness. If you suspect that you are allergic to some types of food, you may want to consider trying a low-FODMAP meal delivery service for a few weeks. After eating your new diet for a few weeks, you can start to slowly reintroduce different foods to pinpoint what is causing your allergic reactions.
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Maintaining a Healthy Gut Bacteria Balance
Your diet is the most critical factor in maintaining a healthy gut biome. Following a Mediterranean diet or including lots of probiotic foods in your diet is a great way to improve both gut health and overall health. On the other hand, a poor diet can harm your gut biome and potentially put you at increased risk of many different health problems. If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet or feel like you don’t have the time to cook, signing up for a meal delivery plan is a great way to ensure you stay healthy.