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Your Gut: 5 Things You Didn’t Know

OK – so most of us are well aware that our gut is part of of our digestive system. As such it’s job is obviously to help in the digestion of food and extraction of nutrients from it.

A lot of us also know the old adage – “You are what you eat.”

Why do we then choose to stop just short of giving our gut the full credit it deserves?

Why do we fail to see that just like with an awesome car – if we want awesome engine performance, we must put in the best quality gas we can find…

I think I have the answer!

It’s because we don’t fully understand the reach of our gut’s control.

So to help the ’cause’ here are 5 quick and critical reasons why you should consider respecting your gut more 🙂

1. It Controls Your Moods

Your body needs the nutrients it extracts from the food you eat, in order to produce the energy it needs to sustain life, and to do the things you do every day. That you know.

But the other reason it needs those nutrients is to be able to produce the right type and amount of hormones it needs to ensure your quality of life.

THAT you may not have heard about.

Your hormones control EVERYTHING in your body. They are a finely tuned orchestra playing the “Four Seasons” by Vivaldi.

If one flute goes out of tune – you’d know all about it. The whole symphony sounds different… next, the base gets out of timing, because the flute confused it. Before you know it, the whole thing sounds like a choir of cats…

You get my point!

The poorer your food is nutritionally, the poorer the hormonal balance of your body. The poorer the quality of your life. And the more unstable and unpleasant your moods.

You feel your memory is going? It’s likely you don’t have enough dopamine.

You’re not in the mood for some lovin’? Your testosterone levels may be shot.

You feel snappy and unsafe? Your serotonin levels need toping up.

You feel ‘ugly’ and unworthy as a woman? Could be your estrogen and progesterone levels are not balanced.

The list can go on and on. Bottom line – if you eat poor nutrition foods – you get poor quality moods (that actually rhymes…).

2. It Controls Your Immune System

Over 60% of your immune system is contained in your gut. Remember those ads about topping up your ‘good bacteria’ – well they have the right idea.

You see – your good and bad bacteria play a huge role in the balance of your gut flora. What that means is if there isn’t enough good bacteria, you’re not likely to get the most out of the food you eat. That has knock-on effect on everything in your body, because everything is fueled by what you eat.

To put this in perspective – you may be eating relatively healthy foods – but you’re still not feeling on top of the world. Worse yet – you’re not losing weight either.

But the more scary part is that if that ratio – good to bad bacteria – is out of whack (and most of western society has that problem) then your immune system goes down. You start to get sick often. And no amount of vitamin C or Echinacea is able to fight that ‘flu’ feeling that never seems to go away.

The solution?

Find pro-biotic (ideally pre-biotic) supplements or even those Dannone drinks will do.

3. It Controls Your Aches & Pains

Yes – what you eat affects how your body feels. Food allergies and intolerances, although being two different things, are both created by poor gut flora. They both manifest themselves in various aches and pains throughout your body.

Joint pains. Bloating. Headaches. Gas (both ends of the body). Muscle aches. Foggy thought process. Rubbish memory.

Any of those can be caused by an intolerance to a food.

The solution?

Be aware that if you feel any of the above – they could be associated to a food type. Then try and pinpoint which food can be causing you a pain.

The most common culprits are gluten, lactose, and nuts – i.e dairy, wheat/bread items, nuts. But some food intolerances range as far into the bizarre as asparagus for example.

If you have suspicions of food intolerances or allergies – try isolate the offending food, then back it up with a medical test. Speak to your family doctor to see what tests are available in your area.

The bottom line is that by understanding that this is what’s causing your aches and pains – you can take measures to avoid/reduce/substitute that food in your diet – hence taking back control of your wellbeing.

The viscous cycle you should be aware of, is that an allergy or intolerance, when chronic can lower your immune system. Which causes stress to your physiology. Which lowers gut efficiency. Which exasperates the allergy or intolerance and so on…

4. It Controls Your Sleep

What food you eat, when you eat it, and how well it is digested by your gut will all affect the quality of your sleep.

If you eat late at night (read less than 30 minutes before you go to sleep), you’re loading your body with the extra task of digestion. So now on top of all the repair work it has to do to all other cells in your body, your gut has to take energy to do digestion too.

The result is that you wake up not as invigorated as you should.

What food you eat and how well it is digested will obviously affect your sleep too. Anything that requires extraneous effort by your gut – will create the usual problems and often it will cause insomnia or irregular sleep.

5. It Controls Your Focus

This one really stems from point 1 above. But I felt it needed it’s own mention because so many of us struggle with poor attention and focus.

And it could be such an easy battle to win. Just by creating a better gut environment – you can get so much more done. How’s that for a productivity tip 😉

This really works in two main ways. One – if you eat too much, your body has to divert energy to the digestive process – which means taking energy from everything else – including your focus.

The second way? If you eat the wrong stuff nutritionally, i.e. <strong>your food either gives you or it takes from you</strong>. You will either have more of the right kind of energy to help your focus, or you’ll need to work extra hard just to keep awake.

The rules are simple (providing you have no food intolerances or allergies):

Foods that GIVE – pretty much anything you can imagine got from it’s origin to your mouth in 3 or less steps. Unprocessed veg, fruit, meat, fish, nuts.

Foods that TAKE – everything else, but especially sugar, alcohol, vinegar, refined white products (bread, rice, pastas).

The solution? I think you can figure this one out 😉

OK, but what’s the point of this post Anita?

The major point I’d like you to walk away with is that NOTHING in your body happens in isolation.

I.e. you don’t just have a headache. You likely have an underlying digestive problem that is causing your head to hurt.

This implies a whole new way of looking at how you treat anything that may be wrong with you. Treat the cause, not the symptom… but that leads into a whole new conversation 😉

So I only mentioned 5 quick and critical reasons why you should consider respecting your gut more, but I know that’s not all.

Do you have a tip/point you want to share? Something you’ve found/read/tested that you can add? I’d love to hear what your experience has been. Please share below.
Did this info help? Gut health and nutrition is just one part of the health and wellbeing ‘equation’. On my site FitHappyHealthy.com I can show you the rest – taking the ‘rocket science’ out of finding a healthier, happier and slimmer you.

Don’t Forget To Follow PickTheBrain on Twitter!

Related Articles:

4 Musts to Staying Committed To Your Diet

The Massive Benefits of a Healthy Diet and How To Make Yours Stick


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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