GUT health has become a hot topic in recent years – with more people than ever looking to improve the bacteria in their bellies.
In the last 12 months Brits have upped their efforts in a mission to re-balance their tummies.
Data from Google trends shows that searches for 'gut health supplements' have gone up by 600 per cent, with searches for fermented foods for gut health having also soared by 300 per cent.
There are plenty of ways you can naturally restore your gut heath
with certain foods and healthy lifestyle habits.
All of which are said to help with issues such as bloating, bad breath, stress and even ageing.
Your gut is made up of a plethora of bacteria, archaea, fungi and viruses.
Lisa Harris, holistic skincare expert said your gut could also hold the key to how young you look.
"We humans are filled to the brim with microbes, which form microbiomes in our mouths, lungs, eyes, reproductive systems and of course, our skin.
"According to the experts, our gut is the largest and most significant thing that impacts our short- and long-term health – as well as how we control how quickly we show signs of ageing", she told MailOnline.
Experts at hyperbiotics explained that so many things in our lifestyles can wipe out the good bacteria we're meant to have.
They added: "What’s worse, the physical effects of stress can deplete our good flora and leave us looking way older than we feel.
"Fortunately, we can restore balance to the gut and even ward off the negative effects of stress by making gut healthy lifestyle choices, including directly replenishing the gut with probiotics (also known as the beneficial gut bacteria).
"These mighty microbes help us digest and absorb vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals—nutrients our skin desperately needs to look radiant and supple at every stage in life."
Aside from ageing, how does poor gut health affect your overall health?
Tim Goodwin, founder of Lean Greens said while perhaps while the garlic bread you had for dinner might play a role, bad breath can also signal poor gut health.
He explained: "Anything that was unable to pass, which remains in your digestive system and ferments, can cause bad breath.
"Bad breath can also be a sign of a reflux issue like GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), or a sign that bacteria in your stomach could lead to stomach ulcers.
"Whatever the root cause may be, it is best to check with your doctor to understand how your digestion could be contributing to bad health."
Bloating and discomfort
Discomfort in your stomach can show up in the form of diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, heartburn, gas, and abdominal pain, Tim said.
"Whilst these symptoms are common, they are not normal.
"A balanced gut should have no problem digesting foods and releasing stools.
"If you regularly experience these symptoms, it is best to check with your GP and nutritionist that you do not have IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a common disorder that affects the large intestines. They can advise you on what foods to avoid, as well what supplements to add to your diet."
How to improve your gut health
A recent poll commissioned by Biotiful found that 60 per cent of consumers are more concerned now, than ever about their gut-health and immunity.
It also showed that 56 per cent of consumers believe that weight change is the sign of an unhealthy gut, and 23 per cent believe skin irritation is also a sign.
Biotiful Founder Natasha Bowes said: "Fermented foods made with live cultures, such as Kefir, give your body a dose of gut-friendly bacteria that are crucial to healthy digestion.
"The Kefir cultures break down the lactose sugars in the milk during the fermentation process, making Kefir low in lactose, which is usually the main cause of people’s discomfort when consuming dairy.
"It also pre-digests milk proteins for us, making the essential minerals from the milk and vitamins from the culture so much easier to absorb than from any supplement."
Camilla Gray who is a nutritional therapist at OptiBac Probiotics also highlight 5 other ways to improve your gut health:
- Cut down on caffeinated and fizzy drinks
- Up the fibre
- Consider a supplement – like a probiotic
- Stay hydrated
- Limit processed foods
Lisa said your skin is like a window to your health and is also why you're quick to notice skin disturbances when faced with things like immune system disturbances, hormonal and nutritional imbalances.
She said all of this begins with the balance of flora in your gut environment.
"And because so many things in our lifestyles can wipe out the good bacteria we're supposed to have, our skin often reflects imbalances in the system", she added.
Tim also said that itchy or painful skin conditions can provide insight into what’s going on with your gut.
He added: "Rosacea, Acne, Dermatitis can all be inflamed due to food intolerances, poor diet, and inflammation in the gut."
Poor skin can often age us – so keeping on top of gut health is key.
Tim added: "Leaky gut syndrome may be related to a damaged gut, and that the ‘leaking’ of certain proteins, germs or toxins can be absorbed into the body to create skin conditions and health issue."
Staying hydrated is another way to keep your gut health in check and if you're dehydrated then it's likely your skin is also suffering.
Miguel Mateas, nutritionist, clinical neuroscientist and Poo-Pourri brand expert said your gut lining is enveloped in a thin mucous layer.
He added: "This is where many of the beneficial bacteria that help you stay healthy and happy live. As just one example, being even slightly dehydrated has a major impact on this layer because it loses its suppleness and its ability to feed gut bugs like Akkermansia, which regulate your appetite and metabolism, helping control your blood sugar levels.
"Water, herbal tea, and cold herbal infusions like a twig of rosemary or some fresh mint in cold water, are ideal ways to keep your gut hydrated, and your gut bugs happy and well fed.”
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