Poor gut health due to unhealthy food choices and bad eating habits can cause a range of health issues and lead to a weakened immune system.
‘Your gut is hugely important for food digestion, absorption and ridding the body of waste,’ says Sam Pearson, a digestive health expert at Procter and Gamble.
So how you can you tell if you have an unhealthy gut?
Ms Pearson says there are five tell-tale signs of poor gut health that you should look out for.
‘Constipation can cause a build up of waste material and toxins in your system. Straining, hard or painful to pass stools, or not feeling ”empty” after a bowel movement are all signs of constipation.
‘If your stools are too loose and wet, it can be a sign that your gut is not functioning properly,’ says Ms Pearson.
‘A normal bowel movement can be sausage shaped, smooth and soft or with some cracks on the surface, or can be soft blobs with clear-cut edges.’
3. Feeling sluggish
If you’re feeling rundown or tired, it could be because your digestive system isn’t working properly.
‘The digestive system helps to get rid of waste in the body however, if this natural toxin removal process slows down, toxins and waste to build up in the body which can cause you to feel sluggish,’ explains Ms Pearson.
4. Mental health issues
‘Stress, anxiety and depression can be indicators of an issue with your gut bacteria,’ she says.
‘Our intestines produce a large portion of the happy hormone serotonin however, lifestyle factors like excess alcohol consumption, change in diet or travel can cause changes to this delicate balance, in turn impacting hormone and neurotransmitter production.’
5. Bad breath
Bad breath can mean an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut. ‘Eating a healthy diet and getting enough fibre in your diet are good ways to help cleanse your insides and support gut health,’ says Ms Pearson.
But worry no more as here are ways on how to improve your gut with this easy tips that you can easily include in your day to day routine
1. Get a good night’s sleep
‘High quality sleep each night is important for gut health as what happens in your gut can affect how you sleep and vice-versa,’ says Ms Pearson.
2. Limit caffeine and alcohol
According to Ms Pearson caffeine beverages can raise stress hormones and sugar in the blood which impacts gut health.
3. Take probiotics
Taking a probiotic regularly can help re-balance the bacteria found in the gut.
4. Increase your fibre intake
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends we eat 25-30g of fibre per day, but most of us don’t get enough.
Fibre helps keeps you regular by trapping and gently pushing waste through the digestive system as well as removing toxins and materials that your body doesn’t need.
‘A fibre supplement like Metamucil is an easy way to increase your fibre intake and help support good gut health,’ she says.
Stress can impact your gut health and vice versa due to gut-brain interaction. ‘Ensuring you take time to relax can help support your gut health.