How Gut Health Impacts Ageing
More and more research is being conducted in the health sector every day. Some of the recent studies are investigating the impact gut health has on bodily functions and brain health. Some researchers argue that the microbiomes in our guts have a great impact on our health and ageing process. When your gut health is compromised by poor lifestyle choices, such as eating a poor diet, it can cause autoimmune disorders. Some of these disorders include: chronic inflammation, hormonal imbalance and disrupted microbiome function. These imbalances can then determine how healthy our skin is, for example. I actually had a lot of issues with my skin after I had a breast augmentation (because I had inflammation and had to take different medications), so I know the pain it can cause.
The good news, however, is that most people can repair their gut health without any drastic measures. Just by improving your diet and making a few lifestyle changes (that will support microbiome), can help you slow down your ageing process. Just like some of us get natural looking breast implants to look younger, others choose to focus on their skin and other health concerns.
The microbiome in our gut plays a significant role in how well we maintain our health. Our gut is where we absorb most of the nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. Bodies run on nutrients; if we don’t get the right amounts, we will suffer nutritional deficiencies. Such deficiencies will accelerate the ageing process and increase the risk of more diseases.
When the healthy bacteria in our gut is compromised, the body triggers overactive immune reactions which, in turn, can cause inflammation.
Our microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria cells. Did you know we have more bacteria-cells in our bodies than human-cells?
The microbiome plays many different roles in our health, including ageing. For example:
- Transforming sugars into short-chain fatty acids that are used for energy. These acids are shown to reduce age-related diseases and inflammatory problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Helps to create new hormones essential for our bodies to thrive.
- Improved digestion and helps the body absorb minerals, like iron and calcium.
- Helps make the B vitamins and fatty soluble nutrients, like A and K
- Helps to modulate the 80% of your immune system found in your gut
- Makes our digestive enzymes break down food properly
- Supports a healthy PH vital for anti-ageing
- Fights cancer-causing compounds
- Epigenetic regulator helping to regulate our gene expression
How to support your microbiome and ensure a healthy gut:
- Eat a diet full of vegetables and fruit. You want to aim for about 10 serves a day. Why not try a salad for lunch? Add some steamed vegetables; green protein smoothies are good for breakfast or as a snack in between meals. Kiwi, nuts and seeds are great snacks too.
- Take prebiotics. They are essential for keeping your microbiome healthy.
- Eat plenty of artichoke, onion, asparagus and garlic which are suitable for feeding our microbiome. And drink plenty of green tea!
- Avoid alcohol if you can, as there is no safe limit for alcohol consumption.
- Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods like chips, prepacked foods, lollies and fast-food. These will create inflammation in your gut. Eliminate these food groups completely, if you can.
- Give up smoking!
- Reduce your stress levels; you can do this by meditating, getting a massage, having an Epsom-salt bath or going for regular walks. This will help you lower the level of stress hormones in your body.
- Eat probiotic-rich foods such as kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut. Aim for 1-2 serves a day.
- Visit a naturopath; they are trained extensively in gut health. Naturopathy looks at the underlying cause of illness and disease. They will address the whole person rather than the symptoms. Sometimes the causes can be as simple as food intolerance. In that case, it can be checked by your doctor who will carry out food allergy tests. If an allergy is found, a naturopath can help you create a treatment plan.