Gut health refers to the overall well-being and functioning of the gastrointestinal tract, which includes the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine. It involves the proper digestion, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste from the body.
Gut bacteria, also known as gut microbiota or gut flora, are the billions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes, that reside in the digestive tract. These microbes play a crucial role in maintaining overall health. To help us better understand its benefits, nutritionist Nmami Agarwal shares the importance of gut bacteria and share tips to boost it.
Few reasons why gut bacteria is important for good health:
- Gut bacteria aid in the digestion and breakdown of complex carbohydrates and fibers that our bodies cannot digest on their own. They produce enzymes that help break down food and extract nutrients such as vitamins B and K, which are essential for our health.
- Gut bacteria help regulate the immune system by producing certain molecules that inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and pathogens in the gut. They also train and modulate our immune system responses, making it more effective in fighting off infections and diseases.
- Gut bacteria contribute to maintaining the integrity of the gut lining and strengthening the gut barrier, which prevents harmful substances from entering the bloodstream. They help promote a healthy and balanced gut environment.
- Recent research suggests a link between gut bacteria and mental health. Gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which influences mood and cognition, hence playing a role in mental well-being.
- Imbalances or disturbances in gut bacteria have been associated with various health conditions such as obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, diabetes, and even certain forms of cancer. Having a diverse and healthy gut microbiota can help prevent the onset of such diseases.
Overall, maintaining a healthy balance of gut bacteria is crucial for good overall health. Lifestyle factors, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, reduced stress, and avoiding excessive use of antibiotics, can contribute to maintaining a favourable gut bacterial community.