The health of our stomach has much more influence on our mood, immunity and skin health than previously thought. Our often taken for granted gut is a vital portal to the body, processing an enormous variety of food and drinks, absorbing nutrients and protecting the body against toxins.
The gut is the largest component of our body’s immune system, containing more nerve cells and connections than the brain and trillions of bacteria that play an integral role in delivering essential nutrients, fine tuning our immune system and even instructing the brain and other body functions.
Recent health book Effortless Healing by Dr Mercola give us 5 reasons why we should pay more interest in what we put into our bodies and how we take care of our gut, the body’s second brain.
5 vital reasons to take care of gut health:
1. Skin Protection
There are billions of bacteria living on our skin producing a healthy balance of skin microbiota protecting skin and boosting skin immunity. Skin problems such as eczema indicate an underlying problem with the immune system. Promoting internal microbiota through diet and lifestyle changes can help to treat and manage eczema and other skin problems.
2. Essential for immunity
A healthy gut is essential to combat coughs, colds and infections. Your gut houses 80% of your immune system and is the first tool for fighting infections, coughs, colds, for preventing overgrowth of harmful micro-organisms and for training our immune system which invaders to attack and which to tolerate.
3. Mental health management
The link between gut, diet and neurological health is a developing area of interest with many new studies and research papers that link gut diversity and balance with mental health. Texas Technology University researchers found that specific strains of probiotics produce GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which reduces stress and anxiety; serotin which lowers aggressive behaviour and aids sleep, and dopamine which plays a role in pleasure and happiness.
4. Allergy protection
Research shows that infants with a less diverse population of microbiota have an increased risk of developing allergies as they get older. Lifestyles in the developed world have profoundly changed the composition of our intricate gut eco system, essential for preventing illness and maintaining health. See 5 top reasons modern living is causing allergies
5. Maintaining healthy weight
Research shows that leaner people are more likely to have more healthy gut bacteria than overweight or obese people. A study showed that a number of obese people that took probiotic supplement milk ferment drinks as part of a clinical trial for 12 weeks reduced their abdominal fat by nearly to 5% over this period.