5 Signs Your Gut Health is Totally Out of Whack

5 Signs Your Gut Health is Totally Out of Whack

Your gut health is tied to so much of your overall health–from your immune system to your nervous system. Your gut is made up of millions of different bacteria, in fact there are more bacteria than cells in a human body by a factor of 10 to one. These bacteria are constantly fighting battles of good over evil in your gut. And you can tell who’s winning by your overall health.

Certain foods damage your gut health and as a result have an impact on your overall health. Refined sugars, GMOs, stress, and pesticides can all negatively impact your gut health as can the overuse of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor or, the traces of antibiotics found in many animal-based foods. Here are some signs that your gut health could use some help:

1. Nausea, Constipation, and Bloating

These are telltale signs that your gut is out of whack. An unhealthy gut has difficulty with simple digestion.

2. Depression

Again, your gut health is tied to your nervous system health. In fact, 80 percent of serotonin is made in your gut. Your gut and your brain work together and are interconnected.

3. Food Allergies

Good gut bacteria can protect against food allergies. One study showed that mice who lived in a sterile environment and were exposed to antibiotics had more peanut allergies than those that had a normal population of gut bacteria. Bottom line–your immune system falsely triggers food allergens when it’s not healthy. Those with unhealthy guts are likely to suffer from food allergens compared to those that are not.

4. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic fatigue syndrome has also been tied to poor gut health likely because it’s so closely linked to your immune health.

5. Skin Problems

Acne, eczema, and atopic dermatitis are also signs of poor gut health.

Now that you see the problems that your poor gut health could be causing, what can you do to stop it? Take simple steps in your diet to alleviate distress.

-Cut out refined sugars and processed foods and replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes and whole grains.

-Add in fermented foods like sauerkraut, Kim chee, tempeh, miso and other pickled foods which are also great for your gut health.

-Avoid non-organic foods because pesticides and herbicides can negatively impact gut health as can GMOs and antibiotic residues in meat and dairy.

-Also avoid antibacterial soaps and washes.

-Don’t take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

-Consider adding a probiotic supplement to your diet.

While poor gut health can have a major impact on your overall health, there are a wealth of steps that you can take to get it back in order and allow good bacteria to thrive in your system. Who knew that mysterious bacteria so prolific in number could mean so much to you looking and feeling your best? Cheers to your gut.

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Image: Filip Bunkens

Sara Novak
Sara Novak

Sara Novak is an independent journalist who reports on health, science, yoga, and travel. She was a writer for Discovery Communications from 2006-2013 and her work has been featured on Discovery Health, Popular Science, TLC, Animal Planet, What to Expect, TreeHugger, and many more. She’s also a certified yoga teacher. When she's not churning away on her laptop, she can be found atop her yoga mat or walking the beach with her husband, baby boy, and two lovable cocker spaniels.