How to Tell if Your Gut Health is Optimal

How to Tell if Your Gut Health is Optimal

The gastrointestinal tract makes up 75 percent of the immune system and it contains 400 species of gut microbes. In fact, there are more bacteria living in your gut then there are stars in the sky. Inflammation in your gut has even been tied to depression and anxiety and it makes sense. Have you ever felt butterflies when you get nervous? Is your appetite weak when life gets stressful? Bottom line–gut health is tied to overall health–a healthy gut means a healthy you.

The bacteria living in your gut are hit daily with irritants whether it’s toxins in your environment, stress, antibiotics, processed foods, gluten and wheat products, or sugar.

How can you tell if your gut health is check? Let’s take a closer look:

Signs Your Digestive System is Stressed

• gas and bloating

• headache

• burping

• acid reflux

• fatigue after eating

• constant hunger

• bowel irritation

• joint aches

• depression

• anxiety

Read more about the connection between brain health and your gut

If your gut health isn’t optimal, there are a number of steps you can take to improve it.

  • Try a cleanse: Starve out unhealthy bacteria and revive healthy bacteria.  A good cleanse can kill off parasites and candida as well that could be irritating your digestive system. Cut out meat, dairy, gluten, alcohol, and caffeine for a set period of time (1-2 weeks is a good amount).
  • Add in probiotics: After you push out unhealthy bacteria, parasites, and candida, consider adding in good bacteria with a probiotics.
  • Drink lots of water: This is an obvious one, but nonetheless, it’s important. Dehydration makes it difficult for the body’s systems to work effectively. Drink reverse osmosis water throughout the day. Add in lemon juice for an additional gut cleanser. Hydration and fiber from vegetables is also a great addition.

Read more about fun ways to stay hydrated besides water

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Sara Novak specializes in health and food policy writing for Discovery Health. Her work has also been featured on TreeHugger, HowStuffWorks.com, TLC Cooking, and Animal Planet. After graduating from the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, Sara headed up the communication efforts for a national scholarship program in Washington, D.C. Sara has also handled copy writing and public relations for a global environmental consulting firm. She loves fiddling with healthful recipes, traveling, and exploring life atop her yoga mat. Today, Sara lives in Charleston with her husband and two lovable cocker spaniels, Madison and Bella.