Gastro Health: The Silent Guardian of Your Wellbeing

Aug 29, 2023
Felicity Reddington
Gastro Health: The Silent Guardian of Your Wellbeing

Gastro Health: The Silent Guardian of Your Wellbeing

When we consider our health, we tend to focus on heart health, brain health, physical fitness, and maybe even our skin and hair. But how often do we consider the importance of our gastrointestinal system? As Felicity, a living, breathing, and eating resident of beautiful Brisbane, Australia, I can attest to the pivotal role gastro health plays in our overall wellbeing. Our digestive system deserves the same TLC we provide to our skin or hair because, to put it simply, it's our silent guardian. Today, let's set the stage for a comprehensive understanding of gastro health, why it is indeed a silent guardian of our wellbeing, and most importantly, how we can nourish and care for it.

Digestive System: The Unsung Hero

In our body's quest for proper functionality, our digestive system performs like an unsung hero. Every bite of that delicious avo toast or a hearty bowl of pumpkin soup you devour, it's your digestive system that breaks down these complex morsels into nutrients needed for energy, growth, and cellular repair. The digestive system also plays a pivotal role in our immune health, housing around 70% of our immune cells. As some food for thought, let's imagine a world where these processes stop working. I recall a hilarious Saturday night that quickly morphed into a nightmare when my digestive system decided to throw a tantrum after I indulged in copious amounts of Indian curries and naan bread. Let’s just say the loo and I became inseparable friends! So, next time you contemplate over that extra piece of chocolate cake, remember your gastrointestinal system has to handle it, and trust me - you want it on your side.

The Gut Microbiome: A World inside Us

Did you know that our bodies are home to trillions of microorganisms, primarily located in our gastrointestinal tract? It's like a bustling metropolis in there, with countless microscopic inhabitants going about their daily lives. This community, known as the gut microbiome, includes bacteria, fungi, viruses, and archaea. The human gut microbiome weighs about 2 kilograms, equal to the weight of your brain, which also rhymes nicely with 'strain', which is something your gut doesn't want. Despite sounding a bit, well, icky, these microorganisms have a positive influence on our health, aiding in digestion, immune response, synthesis of vitamins, and even our mental health. So, keep these tiny titans happy and your digestive health will thrive.

Nourishing Your Digestive System

So, how exactly do we take care of this complex digestive system and our gut companions? The brunt of it comes down to our diet. Consuming a diet consisting of high-fibre foods, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and ample hydration is pivotal in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, yogurt and even a cheeky glass of red wine play a role in diversifying our gut microbiota. Who knew that gastronomic happiness lies in a bowl of kimchi fried rice, washed down with a glass of merlot! I’ve done this, and let me tell you, it feels luxurious! However, it's equally integral to avoid processed foods, high-fat foods, and reduce alcohol consumption. Trust me, these inhabitants of our gut don't take kindly to a steady diet of burgers, chips and pints of beer. Loving your gut equals loving yourself.

Importance of Physical Activity and Managing Stress

Apart from diet, regular physical activity promotes efficient digestion by helping food move through the digestive system. Now, I'm not suggesting you should become a gym rat, but incorporating simple exercises like daily walks, yoga, or even a dance-off to your favourite tunes in your living room (my personal favourite) can do wonders. Also, have you ever noticed that upsetting emotions often lead to an upset stomach? That's because there's a direct link between our gut and brain, known as the gut-brain axis. Chronic stress can upset our digestive system, leading to issues like heartburn, stomach aches, and can even alter our gut microbiome. It’s no coincidence that during the most stressful period of my life (thank you, final semester of university) my digestive system was in complete disarray. So remember, breathe in, breathe out, and take time to relax and de-stress. Your gut will thank you!

In conclusion, it's high time we treated our digestive system and gut health with the reverence they deserve. Our gastro health is indeed our wellbeing's silent guardian, working round the clock to keep us going. It's a fascinating world in there, chock-filled with bustling microbial life, performing wonders every single day. As you embark on your journey of understanding and nourishing your digestive health, remember this—your body always has your back. All we need to do is return the favour in the form of mindful eating, regular exercise, and stress management. As we raise our kombucha glasses to good gut health, always remember, your digestive health is a matter of wellbeing, not just wellness. Cherish it!