With the days getting warmer and longer, optimizing your gut health should be a top priority so you can fully enjoy all that summer has to offer. The condition of your digestive system has a significant impact on your mood, energy levels, skin, and even weight management.
One massive component of your gut health is the trillions of bacteria that reside in your colon. The gut flora is made up of thousands of different strains of bacteria, some are helpful for digestion, while others if overgrown can be harmful. Keeping these populations in check can promote the breakdown and absorption of nutrients so you feel fueled and strong.
The change in the composition of gut bacteria is known as “dysbiosis” in the medical community. And it can be categorized into 3 main types:
1, A loss of beneficial bacteria
2, An overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria
3, Loss of overall diversity
And contrary to popular belief, many of the signs of imbalanced gut flora show up in parts of the body that are seemingly unrelated to the gut region. (1)
To help you troubleshoot the quality of your flora, here are 5 signs that your gut health is imbalanced:
If you experience uncomfortable symptoms, such as bloat, gas, heartburn, irregular stools, or signs of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, these can point to an imbalanced gut. The bacteria in your colon can overgrow into the small intestine, often as a result of excessive processed sugar in the diet. This in turn drives up the production of gas, degradation of gut lining, and digestion capacity. (1)
Unintentional weight change
Both weight gain and weight loss can be related to gut issues because your digestive system is how your body extracts energy and nutrients from food to help regulate blood sugar and fat storage mechanisms. Poor breakdown and absorption can lead to weight loss and malnutrition for some, and in others, poor nutrient absorption increases the urge to overeat by changing your satiety and appetite hormone expression because your body needs more building blocks. (1)
Having terrible sleep or not feeling rested from sleep can cause ongoing tiredness that may be a result of having poor serotonin production in the gut. Serotonin is the hormone that plays a major role in feeling good and sleeping well. The population and content of your flora have a profound effect on the regulation of serotonin levels. So, when your gut flora is out of balance, you could experience abnormal serotonin production. (2)
There have been interesting studies that made correlations between the bacteria flora in your gut and the sebum expression and bacteria flora on your skin. Both of these factors can affect the texture, breakout, and dryness of skin. The research suggests that they may inform each other and that a healthy gut flora could even change the quality of skin flora! Additionally, poor digestion can cause immune responses that lead to skin rashes, eczema, and acne breakouts. (4)
Increased sugar cravings
To start off, many of the pathogenic bacteria thrive off of refined sugar, these include candida yeast. (5) So if you are currently eating a high-sugar diet, you may have helped these specific harmful bacteria proliferate more than the helpful, symbiotic strains. Additionally, excess sugar intake promotes inflammation in the gut, which can damage the gut flora further and add to the stress load of the entire system. The body’s main response to stress, both physical and psychological, involves increasing the demand and therefore urge to consume sugars. (3) And to add to the complexity of this matter, studies have suggested that “are under selective pressure to manipulate host eating behavior to increase their fitness, sometimes at the expense of host fitness.” (6) R’s KOSO is made without white sugar. The most of sugar found in R’s KOSO is fructose from fruits and vegetables and galactooligosaccharides that are the energy source for friendly bacteria in the gut and support gut health.
If you are struggling with any of these symptoms, don’t panic! R’s KOSO has an entire library of blogs and videos to help you improve and re-balance your gut. One easy way to replenish the beneficial gut bacteria in your digestive tract is to add probiotic-rich fermented foods, which is exactly that R’s KOSO is. It contains live bacteria that add to your existing flora, as well as prebiotics, which feed the beneficial bacteria so they can thrive and proliferate.
Keren Chen | CBT Nutritionist
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Original Photo by @_saki_yamamoto_