How to know if Your Gut is Unhealthy

In the 21st century, life is busy. We put in lots of work and effort to achieve our goals. And 24 hours a day just isn’t long enough, is it?

And what’s the first thing we do? We push our bodies to the limit as if we were robots. We sleep less, we eat unhealthy food, and we stop exercising because who has the time?!

Of course, it doesn’t take long for our bodies to figure out something’s not right. So, we start getting signals. Maybe we’re feeling down or exhausted. Or perhaps our stomach hurts.

But we keep ignoring this, saying things like ‘It’s nothing’, ‘I don’t have time for this ’, and ‘I have to do this or that first.’

Well, here’s a message for you: If your body tells you something’s wrong, perhaps it’s time to listen. Did you know that all these symptoms could actually be connected to your gut? An unhealthy gut is not something you would want to neglect as this can lead to a number of serious health-related issues.

Here’s how to know if your gut is not feeling well.

How to Recognize an Unhealthy Gut?

Pay attention to how you’re feeling as this can help you recognize an unhealthy gut. Here are some symptoms of a gut that’s not working at its best. 

1. Food Sensitivity

Did you notice changes in the way you react to certain foods? For example, when you consume a sensitive food, your stomach may start hurting and you might experience bloating and nausea. Keep in mind, this may occur anytime up to 72 hours after you eat the offending food. Food intolerances may be a sign of unhealthy gut and an imbalanced microbiota.

2. Autoimmune Diseases

More and more studies seem to confirm the link between autoimmune diseases and gut microbiome. According to research, gut bacterial imbalances may alter the immune system, triggering this type of disease in certain people. If you’ve been suffering from an autoimmune disease, perhaps it’s time to test your microbiota. Consult your doctor.

3. Anxiety and Depression

Have you been feeling depressed lately? Perhaps you’re having trouble focusing on the task at hand. Once again, this may be linked to your gut microbiome.

In case you didn’t know, more than 90% of serotonin (the happiness hormone) is produced in your gut. This explains why you feel down when your gut doesn’t function well. In recent years, gut microbiome has been linked to numerous mental conditions such as depression and anxiety.

4. Not Sleeping Well

Have you been having trouble getting a decent sleep? This may be another sign of an unhealthy gut. Since your gut produces serotonin, it isn’t surprising that a gut imbalance can influence your mood and sleep. But, hey, now that you know the root of a problem, you can start to make things better.

5. Skin Disorders

Many symptoms that signal your gut is unhealthy lie in your skin. Namely, skin disorders such as psoriasis, acne, and atopic dermatitis have been linked to an unhealthy microbiota. When your gut is out of balance, it can lead to skin irritation and sensitivity. A change in diet can help normalize things by keeping your gut healthy. 

A Final Word

Knowing the health of your gut microbiome can help you live a better life. Don’t wait for things to become serious in order to change your diet and lifestyle. Do this now. Not only will this help keep your gut in balance, but it will also keep diseases at bay.

Do regular checkups (including tests for food intolerances). Sleep at least six to eight hours each night. Eat healthy foods  and change your diet if needed. Exercise or go for a walk every day. And drink at least 5 liter of water per day.

Remember: Your gut health can be changed. You just have to take action.

Erica Mesirov, Editor, Nutritionist/Dietician, MSHN

Erica Mesirov has a Master's degree in holistic nutrition and writes the award winning blog Eat, Lose, Gain. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her dog and her two kittens. When she isn't helping people live vibrantly, Erica spends her time watching girl movies, reading books her mom would say don't challenge her, and making lopsided pottery creations.

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