Different parts of our body take care of different body functions. Just as the brain controls and drives all impulses and the functioning of every voluntary and involuntary movement, the intestine looks after the immunity of the body and, therefore, good intestinal health helps with overall health.
Dr. Adonis employs the principles of functional medicine to improve gut health. A healthy intestine is not just the result of good genes, but the product of great care. If you are looking to improve your gut health and rid yourself of any problems related to it, make an appointment with our clinic today. It is time you followed your gut and really took the time out for yourself!
The intestine is home to billions of different bacteria. Together they are called the gut microbiome. Several of these are gut-friendly and help maintain homeostatic balance in the body. The good bacteria keep multiplying so that they minimize the space for harmful bacteria to grow, which is one of the ways they protect the body.
The absence or deficiency of good bacteria in the intestine can give rise to disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis. They also help control the bacteria that turn food into cholesterol, which causes heart ailments. An imbalance in the gut microbiome may alter how the brain processes sensory information. This could account for hampered perceptions of light, taste, sound, and smell. Scientists also suspect that a tilt in this subtle balance may also be a trigger for problems like depression, anxiety, and pain. Studies are also trying to verify a link between imbalances in the gut and obesity. Conditions of the intestines such as a leaky gut, malabsorption, or microbiome imbalance could lead to the greatest danger the body faces, a compromised immune system, which can lead to diseases such as autoimmune diseases or cancer. Functional medicine recognizes that strong medicines can alter this balance very easily and relies on alternative approaches to restoring and maintaining harmony in the gut.
Factors Affecting Gut Health
Several factors are responsible for the health of our gut. These include:
- Food – The food we eat is probably the single largest contributor to the quality of our intestinal health.
- Method of birth – Studies indicate that those born naturally have better bacteria in the body as a result of the bacteria the baby is exposed to during the process of childbirth. Similarly, babies who are breastfed also have better gut health as opposed to those born via a Caesarean section.
- Stress and anxiety – These can alter the gut health of individuals significantly and lower immunity
- Medicines – Prolonged use of over-the-counter and prescription medications can also lead to a compromised gut.
- Exposure – Exposure to dirt, dust, and mud is viewed as damaging to the health, but it can be extremely beneficial in improving immunity and building resistance in the body.
Symptoms of an Unhealthy Intestine
Dr. Adonis recommends that you observe and listen to your body carefully, as it will always tell you when something is wrong. Here are some telltale signs that indicate your gut needs help:
- Since an unhealthy gut has difficulty digesting and breaking down food, it is common to experience problems like indigestion, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and acidity.
- Sugar cravings are experienced when there is excess sugar in the intestine. This usually leads to depletion of good bacteria in the stomach and makes us crave sugars even more. When sugars are retained at such high levels in the body, it can lead to inflammation and, subsequently, cancer as well.
- Unexplained weight gain or loss may be the outcome of gut-related issues, since the ability of the intestine to absorb nutrients is compromised.
- The intestine produces a hormone known as serotonin, which affects our mood and sleep. Imbalance in serotonin levels can cause insomnia and chronic fatigue and, in some severe cases, can even lead to fibromyalgia.
- Inflammation in the gut may lead to a leakage of protein into the body, manifesting as skin allergies and eczema.
Tips to Improve Intestinal Health
Given that there are so many causes of intestinal problems, Dr. A recommends certain simple tips to help keep the gut in shape.
- Keep stress levels in check and follow a regular sleep pattern. Maintaining body equilibrium can help keep the intestine in better health and prevent recurring intestinal issues.
- Avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics, and reduce your dependency on them. When consuming antibiotics, ensure that probiotics are also taken in adequate measure.
- Incorporate probiotic as well as prebiotic foods into your diet to improve gut health and maintain levels of good bacteria in the intestine.
- Fiber-rich foods have excellent nourishing and cleansing properties and should be consumed in adequate amounts. Foods rich in fiber strengthen the gut and also maintain hormone levels in the intestines.
- Bloating, indigestion, constipation, and other intestinal issues can also be the result of food allergies. Ensure you check what foods you are allergic to and modify your diet accordingly.
- Avoid Caesarean section deliveries as far as possible, since natural childbirth allows the passage of good bacteria to the baby and builds good bacteria in the mother too. Breastfeeding the infant for a longer duration also gives your child better gut health.
- Modify your diet to exclude salt, processed foods, and refined sugar. Instead, opt for plant-based foods and lean meats to keep the gut agile and healthy.
- Fermented foods are high in probiotic content and can help keep the intestinal microbiome healthy. Include foods like kimchi, yogurt, kefir, and miso in your diet.
- Mushroom, dairy, and some meats can help boost the collagen content in the body and, in turn, contribute to gut health.