When it comes to improving your overall health, listen to your gut. The Hoag Digestive Health Institute highlights a few ways in which your gastrointestinal health affects your overall wellbeing.
Immunity. Our gastrointestinal tracts are host to a universe of microbiota, including bacteria and fungi. The better we eat, the happier our gut microbiome becomes, giving us the disease-fighting power we need to stay healthy. Alter that microbiome just a little, and our immune system can fall out of whack.
Heart Health. The way to your heart really is through your stomach. Healthy gut bacteria = lower cholesterol and a healthier heart. Disrupt your gut microbiome, and you could trigger chemical reactions in the body which can lead to vascular and heart disease.
Mental Health. The brain-gut connection is so powerful, scientists refer to the 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract as your “second brain,” or the enteric nervous system (ENS). Turns out that the ENS and central nervous system (CNS) “talk” to one another, triggering mood changes, GI problems and even mental health issues.
Sleep Health. Gut microbes produce melatonin and other sleep-regulating hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). These hormones affect the body’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock. Keep that clock ticking (and sleep easier) by eating well and taking care of your digestive health.