How happy is your gut?

09th August 2023

How do you know if your gut is happy and when is it time for a reset? Stephanie Moore, Goodwood's programme lead, clinical nutritionist, takes us through the warning signals of an unhappy gut and what you can do to improve gut health.

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More than ever before, the magical microbial world that lives in our colon, the gut microbiome, is being scientifically scrutinised, revealing yet more fascinating information on how pivotal our gut health is to our overall well-being.

The many trillions of microbes that make up our gut microbiome are the master controllers of so much more than our digestive function. Just because they are located in the gut does not limit their function to gut stuff, not by any means. In fact, the term often used for the gut microbiome, the second brain, is increasingly looking like it should be updated to the first brain!

This is because communication from the gut microbes is now known to be the main influence on the interconnected communication and regulation of ALL other systems and organs in the body, including the skin and the brain.

The brilliance of the brain would be nothing without the gut microbes telling the brain what to do and when. From energy levels to sleep quality, immune regulation to brain chemistry, the gut microbiome is the one pulling the strings.

If our gut microbes are depleted in number or variety, gut dysbiosis can quickly develop. Gut dysbiosis is incredibly common and is where opportunistic, unfriendly microbes take up residency, disrupting the balance of gut bugs. These send out poor communication signals, which can result in excess inflammation and immune dysregulation manifesting in any number of ways.

As such, symptoms of an unhappy gut do not necessarily manifest as digestive symptoms. There is a whole host of clues that your gut microbes might be struggling outside of the digestive tract itself.

There are a number of warning signs that you need to pay attention to your gut microbiome, even if you have no evident issues with classic digestive distress, such as abdominal bloating; very frequent/urgent loose bowel movements; constipation – hard stools less than once a day; acid reflux or heartburn; smelly wind or a lot of burping after eating.

These are the obvious signs that your gut microbes are not functioning optimally, but there are many other, equally important signs to look out for:

Common symptoms of gut dysbiosis:

- Bad breath
- A thick yellowish coating on the tongue esp. in the morning
- No clear signals of being hungry or when you’re full
- Headaches or migraines
- Brain fog
- Achy joints
- Acne, eczema, dermatitis or psoriasis
- Low mood
- Fungal nail and other fungal infections such as thrush, dandruff, athletes foot
- Sugar cravings
- Feeling suddenly tired after eating
- Poor reaction to alcohol
- Bad sleep
- Low tolerance to stress
- Feeling anxious and/or depressed

 

With so much at stake, healing and not harming your gut microbes needs to become a daily practice. You can start doing this by taking out or reducing the gut microbe disruptors – alcohol, wheat, sugar, emulsifiers, and artificial sweeteners to name a few.

You can also support your gut health with the 3Fs, a critical part of the Goodwood Gut Health Protocol:


- Fibre (fermentable, soluble fibre-rich foods)
- Fermented Foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, raw apple cider vinegar, live yoghurt, kefir)
- Fasting (ensure a fasting window of at least 12 hours every night).

 

The Goodwood Gut Health Programme has been designed in collaboration with Stephanie Moore, who will be sharing more of her expert knowledge and tailoring advice to suit your personal health needs. You can find out more about The Goodwood Gut Health Programme, including upcoming dates here.

 

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