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Why Is Gut Health Important? A Guide

Gut health doesn’t sound very appealing, but it’s become a pretty buzzy topic over the last few years — and it’s easy to see why. From emotional stress to chronic illnesses and just about everything in between, the digestive system has been linked to numerous aspects of health. It plays a major role in maintaining overall well-being. 

Interested in learning more? Read on as we explore the gut to uncover what it is and why good gut health is so important. 


Gut Health 101: Everything You Need To Know 

We’ve all heard a thing or two about gut health and how keeping it in tip-top shape is key to staying healthy, but what actually qualifies as the “gut”?  

Also known as your digestive system and gastrointestinal tract, the gut is necessary for the consumption and digestion of food and the production of waste, making it one of the most essential organs in the body. It’s about a 10-meter long muscular tube that includes the:

  • Mouth
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Pancreas
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Small intestine
  • Colon
  • Rectum

Despite being as large as it is and containing many key players that make up the body when thinking about the gut, most think of the intestinal tract — primarily the small intestine. Why? 

For starters, this is where nearly 90 percent of nutrient absorption occurs — not to mention this is also where food is digested. What’s more, the small intestine is where many food intolerances take place. Speaking of which, did you know that nearly 70 percent of the world’s population struggles to digest lactose

Yup — those who are lactose intolerant don’t produce enough lactase (which helps to digest the sugars in dairy), and as a result, they have issues digesting dairy products. 

After consuming dairy, undigested lactose tends to hang out in the intestine where it ferments, leading to symptoms such as bloating, excessive gas, nausea, and abdominal pain. 

In fact, the notorious “tummy ache” is actually centralized in the intestinal tract! 

The small intestine is responsible for nutrient absorption and many other important functions. The large intestine — aka the colon — is the primary site for all of that good bacteria often referred to as the microbiome. 


Hold Up — What’s the Microbiome? 

Arguably the most exciting and revolutionary discussion in health right now is also one of the least appetizing: We’re referring to the trillions of itty-bitty living critters that call our digestive systems home — what scientists have dubbed the gut microbiome. 

Most of these microorganisms — or microbes, for short — are friendly. Some of them, however, are not so friendly. When they run amok, they can cause an imbalance which, more often than not, results in poor gut health. And when the gut isn’t healthy, the rest of the body tends to follow suit. 


The Importance of Good Gut Health 

Why is it so important to keep the bacteria in your gut in check, you ask?

All food is ultimately broken down by the microbes in the gut before it can be delivered as nutrients throughout the body via the bloodstream. This, however, is only possible with a healthy digestive system. 

These nutrients are critical in supporting the body’s many essential functions, and without them, your body wouldn’t run optimally.

In addition to bacteria, the gut also houses nearly 70 percent of your immune system and communicates with the brain through nerves and hormones, helping to maintain general health and well-being. 

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how poor gut health can cause many issues throughout the body — not just in the digestive tract.

Here are just a few common areas a healthy and happy gut can support.


Abdominal Comfort  

Gas is a perfectly normal part of the digestion and fermentation process in the digestive tract. However, some microbes naturally produce more gas than others. So if you happen to have an imbalance where these super-gassy microbes are taking over, it could lead to greater fermentation, resulting in trapped gas in the gut, which ultimately leads to bloating — not fun!

Thankfully, you can help keep tummy troubles at bay by noshing on prebiotic-rich foods like Uprising Superfood Freedom Chips, which contain nine grams of good-bacteria-lovin’ fiber. 


Emotional Health 

Another area a healthy gut can support is your emotional health. Remember how we mentioned that the gut is directly linked to the brain? When your gut microbiome isn’t balanced, it cannot communicate efficiently with your noggin. And seeing as the gut plays a major role in serotonin production, it makes perfect sense how poor gut health can greatly affect your mood, worsen depression symptoms, and impact how you respond to stress. 

Of course, feeling blue doesn’t necessarily mean you have poor gut health, but if you’ve been especially moody lately in conjunction with other GI symptoms, it’s worth mentioning to your doctor. 


Sleep 

Believe it or not, a healthy gut also supports healthy sleep. According to a recent study, researchers found that people who experience excessive sleepiness often have abnormal levels of certain strains of bad gut bacteria. 

What’s more, an unhealthy gut can also negatively affect your natural circadian rhythm, which can lead to disruptive sleep, causing you to feel overly sleepy during the day.  


Top Tips To Support Good Gut Health 

Think your microbiome might be unbalanced? Here are a few tips to support your gut:


Tip #1: Drink More H2O 

Simple enough, right? Keeping your body properly hydrated is step number one to a healthy gut. Not only does drinking water aid digestion, but it also protects the mucosal lining of the intestines. Seeing as your intestines house your gut microbiota — this is crucial. 


Tip #2: Avoid the Sweet Stuff 

The bad guys in your gut love sugar. That said, eating too many sweets can quickly cause the harmful bacteria to overrun the beneficial bacteria. 

Rather than chowing down on processed foods and sugar, get good nutrients from healthy whole foods like fruits and vegetables. Fermented foods can also help balance your gut bacteria, so remember to load up on kimchi, tempeh, miso, sauerkraut, and kefir. And don't forget the kombucha! Of course, probiotic and prebiotic foods like yogurt, garlic, and onion can also pack a major punch. 

It’s also important to ensure you’re getting plenty of fiber to help repopulate your gut with healthy bacteria. Veggies like leeks and asparagus, fruits like bananas, and whole grains can all help you increase your fiber intake, but sometimes oats just aren't enough to fix your gut. 

To help get more roughage into your diet, we recommend the Uprising Superfood Cubes — masterfully crafted with clean ingredients like psyllium husk, almonds, and flax seeds. Our mouth-watering bread contains nine grams of fiber, six grams of protein, and only two net carbs per serving.


Tip #3: Get More Vitamin Zzz 

Good quality shut-eye is much more than just sweet dreams. Clocking in the recommended seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night is imperative for giving your body the rest and recovery it needs to support a healthy gut so that it can function at its best.  


Wrapping It Up 

So, why is gut health so important?

A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, brain health, improved mood, effective digestion, and healthy sleep. In other words, when your GI tract is out of whack, there’s a pretty good chance that the rest of your body will suffer, too. 

Signs of an unhealthy gut can include fatigue, heartburn, weight gain, constipation, diarrhea, and more.

Thankfully, you can support a healthy gut, get your gut microbes in check, and grow your good bacteria by making small lifestyle changes. These include drinking more water, trying probiotic supplements, getting sufficient sleep, and swapping your traditional white bread for a loaf of our fiber-packed Uprising Superfood Bread.  

Here at Uprising Food, we’re on a mission to bring fiber-packed supplements disguised as savory staples to the masses. Artisan-baked with clean ingredients and absolutely nothing artificial, you won’t believe how good healthy can taste!

Whether you’re on a mission to achieve good gut health or simply on the hunt for fiber-packed food that’s as healthy as it is delicious, you can count on us to have your back. 


Sources:

The digestive system | Gut and Stomach Anatomy

Milk Intolerance and Microbe-Containing Dairy Foods | Science Direct

If you want to boost immunity, look to the gut | If you want to boost immunity, look to the gut | CONNECT

Anal gas evacuation and colonic microbiota in patients with flatulence: effect of diet | PubMed

The Gut Microbiome and Mental Health: Implications for Anxiety- and Trauma-Related Disorders | PubMed

Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases | NCBI

Gastric mucosal defense mechanisms: a brief review | PubMed

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