Why your gut health matters

Trust your gut isn’t just good advice for making decisions; it’s also the key to keeping your body healthy. Your gut is made up of trillions of microbes that impact everything from digestion to immunity, which is why it needs to be in tip-top shape.

So what constitutes a healthy gut? Balance. When the beneficial and harmful bacteria and yeast are balanced, your gut is working at its best.

The amazing things your gut can do

Your gut is responsible for helping your cells absorb the nutrients they need from broken down food to avoid nutrient deficiencies and other health concerns. Having a healthy gut can even affect emotions and the way the brain processes information.

With a healthy gut you can have:

  • improved mood and brain health
  • more energy
  • a stronger immune system
  • healthy sleep
  • efficient digestion

The gut is home to more than half of the immune system, so any imbalance makes it difficult to fight off infection, leaving you susceptible to illness and disease. And that’s why you should include gut-healthy foods when you’re to trying boost your immune system. Studies suggest that negative changes to gut microbiome can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Everyone from overweight individuals to elite athletes and active individuals can have gut issues, which may manifest in the form of joint pain, headaches, rashes, and other skin conditions.

Gut permeability is important, too. This refers to how easily various substances can pass through the intestinal wall. If there’s poor permeability, this may allow toxins and bacteria to pass into the bloodstream, which can be detrimental to overall health.

Looking for ways to rebalance your gut? Check out these five tips.

About the Author

Shannon Ehrhardt

Shannon Ehrhardt, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., C.S.C.S., is a senior performance dietitian at EXOS and has worked in sports performance for over 10 years. With a master's degree in exercise physiology and nutrition, she works with EXOS' nutrition partner Onnit, supporting the performance goals of athletes and working alongside the product development team.

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