Many chronic metabolic diseases begin in the gut, maybe Hippocrates exaggerated a bit when he said, “ALL diseases begin in the gut’’ But it’s time to get gutsy about the gut, it’s time to know it all!

What is gut health?

Gut health refers to a good balance between bacteria in your intestine.  Many health issues can arise when the gut flora is imbalanced.

About those famous microbes

Experts tell us that inside our skin and intestines there are trillions of microbes, like bacteria, viruses and fungi. Collectively these microbes are called microbiomes.  Many of these bacteria are important for the immune system, heart and other aspects of health, while others are associated with disease.  Many studies claim that the gut microbiome plays a significant role in the health of the body. 

What Is the Gut Microbiome?

The gut microbiome resides in a pocket of the large intestine called cecum. Scientists are frequently reiterating the fact that the gut microbiome forms the foundation of our health. 

Among all the various microbes that we hold, scientists are most fascinated with bacteria, judging from the number of studies that have been made.  The reason is because our body holds approximately 40 trillion bacterial cells compared to 30 trillion human cells leading scientists to claim that we are essentially more bacteria than human. 

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What’s important to know is that of all the 1,000 species of bacteria that reside in the gut microbiome, are important, each playing a significant role in the body that directly impacts health, while a few others may cause a disease. A diet that balances out good bacteria with the bad bacteria and yeast in the digestive systems produces good gut health.  This is important because 80% of the immune system is in the gut and holds a significant portion of the body’s serotonin.

Most people will be surprised to know that the weight of these microbes amount to roughly the weight of the brain which is as much as 2-5 pounds.  Together, they in fact, work as an extra organ in the body and impact health in more ways than we know. So, an unhealthy gut is the harbinger to illness and it is how some diseases like Hashimoto’s Disease begin.

What does the gut do?

  • The gut adds fuel that is required to maintain the body.
  • It absorbs nutrients.
  • Aids in digestion
  • the place where the body gets rid of the metabolic waste and toxins

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The signs of an unhealthy gut

If your gut is unhealthy, it will be unable to perform the above functions The most common signs of an unhealthy gut are gas, diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating. A bad gut can manifest itself in other forms like Autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s Disease, Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis where your immune system attacks different parts of the body.  The body can also experience a host of issues like inflammation throughout the body, chronic fatigue, and chronic illnesses.  Besides this a bad gut can also trigger symptoms like headaches, poor concentration and memory, fatigue, chronic pain, trouble sleeping and issues with cravings or bad moods and brain fog. Some experts claim that a bad gut can even cause depression and anxiety.  All the above symptoms are strong indicators of a bad microbiome.

Kim Yong, a mother of two boys said: “My kids often complained about bloating and constipation.  They refused to go to school regularly and their grades started to fall.  I soon realised that I had to make deliberate choices with their meal plans. That changed everything for us.”

Experts say that the brain is like the second gut, if your gut is not working, then your brain is struggling to.

Main causes of a poor gut

Essentially food drives and is the most significant contributing factor towards maintaining gut health.  But there are other factors that impact the health of our gut:

  • Stress can give you a leaky gut, scientists say.  It basically increases the permeability of the intestine, thereby tipping the scales towards more bad bacteria creating an imbalance.
  • Poor food choices:  Eating processed food and foods high in sugar can destroy the good bacteria in the gut.  This can cause inflammation throughout the body. How Food is Prepared Matters!
  • Prolonged use of antacids and antibiotics: This decreases B12 within the gut which plays an important role in brain function, energy levels and cell production. It also effectively kills the good bacteria in the gut.  Please consult a physician before using them.
  • Foods that are good for your gut

How can you take care of your gut or improve your gut health

  • Some of the basic things to start off with to improve gut health are the following:
  • Try to manage your stress levels
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Eat healthy. Read here about why healthy food choises are important.
  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep at night
  • Exercise

A top company executive, Mei Hoon, said: “I struggled during important meetings and brainstorming sessions. I didn’t realise that the problems were originating from my gut. Once I changed my food choices, things fell into place.”



Everything good takes time, but it also needs discipline, hard work and consistency.  If you are currently having some struggles with your diet, don’t expect to fix it overnight.  Take thoughtful, deliberate decisions to make changes gradually. 

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Balance your gut and you could balance your life, leading to incredible changes that could further lead to big milestones professionally and personally. Get gutsy about your gut!

Happy eating, please.

Click here to read about the discovery of the fifth flavor Umami!

Sherral Joseph

Author Sherral Joseph

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