If you’re experiencing increased gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea, or if you’ve been feeling more anxious and depressed lately, you’re probably hit with the effects of all the food that you consumed over the holidays. Overindulging in rich food will do more than expand your waistline; it could have long-term adverse consequences because of its effect on your gut bacteria.
The Effects of an Imbalanced Gut: More Serious than Extra Poundage
Our gut microbiome houses our collection of microbiota. Think of it as the human equivalent of an environmental ecosystem. If our gut doesn’t contain diverse bacteria, then it could have detrimental effects on our body. The average person’s gut can carry up to 2 kg of microbes, and all these are thrown out of balance by holiday food binges.
Gut bacteria has long been known to influence one’s health. Many scientific studies show that microbes influence digestion, immunity/allergies, and metabolism. When healthy, the microbiota inside a person’s gut will contribute vital nutrients, such as Vitamins B and K, and help optimize your body’s metabolism and immune system. As a result, your resistance to diseases increases, and you’re even less prone to weight gain. But a lack of the right kind of microbes or having too much of the wrong kind of microbes can lead to inflammation, infection, and even dangerous afflictions, like diabetes, obesity, cancer, or mental health-related infirmities. And those are just the long-term effects. The immediate effects, such as stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, halitosis, and indigestion, can be crippling as well.
Start the Year Right: Restore Balance to Your Gut
There’s no one way that can help you achieve the right balance and diversity of microbes in your gut. It takes time and a series of steps to restore the health of your gastrointestinal tract. Try the following methods:
- Watch out for toxins and sensitivities. Keep your diet free from food that contains substances and toxins that could be stressing your system. As an initial guide, food to avoid could include processed food, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and those that contain bad fat. You should also avoid dairy and food that contains gluten, if you’re sensitive to it. These substances can irritate your gut and result in inflammation.
- Incorporate nutrients in the healing process. Certain foods and supplements can help repair your intestinal lining. Natural foods and those rich in L-Glutamine, Omega-3 fatty acids, Zinc, and antioxidants (in the form of Vitamins A, C, and E) can play a major part in this process.
- Promote your gut’s floral diversity. You need to restore your gut’s optimal bacterial flora population, and you can do it with the help of multiple-strain probiotics that contain beneficial live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis, and many other strains. Probiotics are good bacteria that can strengthen your gastrointestinal tract, fight illness, and keep bad bacteria at bay.
- Get a good baseline. Restoring gut health varies from person to person because your lifestyle choices play a major role, too. You can get yourself tested to get an idea how to fix your gut. A Gastrointestinal Effects test measures the diversity of your gut bacteria, checks for signs of toxicity and inflammation, and examines how you are digesting and absorbing nutrients you consume. Your gut profile, based on your test results, can help your doctor in providing personalized and optimal recommendations for you.
It might take a while for you to recover from all those holiday feasts. But with a little time and effort, you can get your gut—and your body—back on track.