7 Common Habits that can harm your Gut Health
Its rightly said “You are what you eat” as the gut plays an important role in the health of an individual. One of the studies in over 33 countries shows that for every ten adults in the world, four suffer from functional gastrointestinal disorders because of impaired gut health. A healthy gut contains healthy bacteria that helps in building up your immunity and fighting infections. A healthy gut helps in the absorption of nutrients for utilization in the body. If your gut is in good state it signals the brain and thus help in balancing the hormones in the body.
Many of us unknowingly make some common mistakes which impacts our gut performance leading to digestive problems such as bloating, acidity, loose stools, constipation, heartburn, abdominal pain etc. Let’s have a look at some common ones.
1. Lack of fibre in the diet: Fibre plays an important role in your digestive health. A diet low in fibre can cause either constipation or diarrhea resulting in acidity, abdominal distention, gas formation etc. The fibre present in food acts as a cleansing agent for colon , thus flushing out toxins and bad bacteria from the body. If the gut keeps accumulating toxins, then it can lead to serious health issues like colon cancer, ulcerative colitis etc. Besides flushing out bacteria, fibre specially the soluble fibre also acts as prebiotic because the good bacteria in the gut break this soluble fibre to produce essential short-chain fatty acids needed for the body. So, it’s advisable to have fibre rich foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, husked pulses, grains and millets in the diet for the proper bowel movement and maintenance of gut health.
2. Intake of excessive water in-between the meals: Some people are in the habits of having too much of water in between the meals. This not only impairs the digestion of food by diluting the digestive juice produced by the stomach but also creates bloating and flatulence. It is important to note that one should avoid having water in between the meals. Ideally one should take water after half to one hour of having meal. Its important to note that lack of water can also affect your gut health as it affects the circulation of nutrients in the blood, so keep yourself hydrated is equally important.
3. Excessive intake Fats in the diet: Excessive intake of fats in the diet can impair your gut health and slows the process of digestion. Dietary fats can damage your gut lining, which allows certain bacteria to leak into your bloodstream or create inflammation. Fats should be included judicially in the diet both qualitatively and quantitatively. Good fats present in nuts, seeds, olives not only give you good amount of nutrients but also works on improving your lipid profile.
4. Too much of processed food and sugar in diet: Processed foods like burgers, pizzas, noodles, wafers, pasta, caffeinated beverages, and too much sugary foods have become part of everyone’s meal on a regular basis. Human body is not designed to process so much of processed food that’s why the cases of fatty liver, leaky guts are increasing day by day. Inclusion of natural and whole foods into our diet and cutting down of processed foods is required to balance gut bacteria.
5. Eating on the run: World is running, so is our food with us when we are having breakfast, lunches while travelling. Eating too fast leads to indigestion, bloating, acidity issues. It’s important to have chew each bite and give sufficient time to your gut to send signals to brain that its full. Eat mindfully for our good gut.
6. Sedentary lifestyle: Corporate jobs, high technology gadgets, social media decreased our physical activity and is leading to obesity issues among all the age groups. The kids are also becoming vulnerable to obesity too. Exercise is not only required to improves our cardiac health but also improves your bowel movement considerably.
7. Stress: Stress affects digestion and can lead to impaired absorption of nutrients by the intestines. Stress affects the brain gut communication. The intestines acts as tight barrier to protect the body from food related bacteria. Stress can make the intestinal barrier weaker and allow gut bacteria to enter the body. Engaging ourselves in stress relieving exercise or activity like Yoga, Aerobics, any hobby can help in improving our gut.