Your gut is in the center of your body for a reason — it is the true central command center for so many different systems and functions in your body. Many even refer to the gut as the “second brain” because its responsible for so much. Our immune system, digestion, sleep, skin, hormones, fertility, and more are all impacted greatly by our gut health.
What does an “imbalanced gut” even mean?
A gut imbalance refers to the bacteria that live in your gut being out of balance. About 100 trillion bacteria (both “good” and “bad” ones), live inside your digestive system. Among them are over 1000 different species! The collective of all of this bacteria is known as your gut microbiota. It’s important for your body to always have the right balance of good to bad bacteria to support your health, digestion, hormones, and so many other functions as mentioned above.
Think of your gut like a garden — In order for the “good” plants like flowers and vegetables to grow, you need to give it lots of love, sunlight, water and fertilizer (ie: good nutrition, and lots of water, probiotics, and sleep). You also want to minimize the “bad” bacteria (think of this as the weeds in your garden), you need to stop feeding them the things that they thrive on. While it’s healthy have some of the “bad” bacteria in your body, you always want to have the number of good bacteria outweighing the bad. When it’s out of balance, it’s a condition called “gut dysbiosis.”
Some common things that feed those “weeds” and lead to gut dysbiosis/imbalance, are antibiotics, hormonal birth control, a diet that is too heavy in processed foods and sugars, and living with a high level of stress. There are others, but these are some of the key culprits. Read more here.
So how do we know if our gut is out of balance? If you notice any of these signs, it could mean that your gut is out of whack. (Don’t worry — there are things you can do to fix it!)
Signs of a gut imbalance:
- Intense sugar cravings
- Weight gain
- Weight Loss
- Diarrhea, loose or mushy stools
- Constipation, hard stools
- Issues with sleep — insomnia, always tired, inconsistent schedule
- Autoimmune Disease
- Acne, eczema, or skin rashes
- Unexplained extreme fatigue or sluggishness
- Brain fog
If you’re experiencing one, or two (or, maybe all??) of these, don’t fret! There are lots of ways to help improve an imbalanced gut! With a little time, patience, and the right mix of supplements, whole real foods and lifestyle shifts, you can give your body a chance to begin healing itself.
9 ways start healing your gut:
- Increase intake of fiber-rich, whole, real fruits and vegetables
- Avoid processed & packaged foods
- Avoid added sugars
- Up your water intake – drink A LOT of it!
- Prioritize a regular sleep routine
- Actively work to lower your stress levels
- Move your body everyday
- Up your vitamin intake
- Take a quality probiotic
Want more help in targeting your gut health issues? As a health coach there’s nothing I love more than working with people to re-learn how to listen to their own bodies, to heal their gut health issues and to get their health (and life!) back again. I work with you to personalize a plan that is right for your body’s specific needs. To learn more, apply for my 1:1 coaching – it includes a free consultation call.