3 Habits That Are Killing Your Gut
In todays modern world there is a plethora of food to choose from. Modern transportation has revolutionized our ability to access specific types of vegetables, fruit and livestock that you would have otherwise seriously struggled to find in your own nation.
Unfortunately for those in 2019, most people also have to worry about the every day routine of travel, work & other responsibilities. Meaning access to this wide variety of exotic food & meals tends to go to waste.
Many people simply do not have the time to prepare a delicious & nutricious meal. Opting instead for quick and easy-to-make foods such as frozen pizzas, sandwiches and microwave meals.
Whilst this can be a time saver (and as such, very tempting), you’re potentially sabotaging your gut health.
Why does my gut health matter?
The famous greek philosopher Hippocrates once stated “all disease begins in the gut”. fascinatingly, he wasn’t entirely wrong. The vast majority of your immune system is located in your intestinal tract. As such, having poor gut health can affect you in numerous ways: ranging from frequent trips to the toilet to constant fatigue, painful bowel movements & more.
Evidence even suggests that your gut bacteria corresponds pretty closely with your mood.
We’ve compiled a short list of what consumables to avoid and why. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms associated with poor gut health, it may be worth cutting some of these out of your diet.
Habit 1 – Alcohol
We thought we’d start off the list with the most common vice for millions of people. Odds are if you’re experiencing issues with your gut and drink frequently, cutting out alcohol can make a world of difference.
Alcohol isn’t great for your health across the board, but it can specifically stir up problems with your gut pretty quickly.
Gastrointestinal experts published a study in 2012 that looked at the gut microbiome of regular drinkers. The results were fairly clear and concise: alcohol destroys the good bacteria present in the gut. You need this bacteria to compete with ‘bad’ bacteria for food and stave off illness. This may be partially why it’s so common for alcoholics to fall ill.
As an interesting side note, the interactions between nicotine and gut health have also been investigated. A study was published more recently – in 2017, that indicated that nicotine use affected the gut microbime also.
Habit 2 – Eating Foods Containing Additives
This is a bit of a broad category. When you consider an “additive” is just something you add into food to enhance it’s flavour. However, artificial additives have a fairly long running history of being outed as bad for you. You might notice that most sweets nowadays state “free from artificial colours and flavours”. This is because of the literal legions of kids who would eat a handful of smarties and go absolutely crazy for hours.
But a lot of foods do still contain additives. Polysorbate 80 is pretty common, and it has recently been linked to alterations in the gut microbiome.
Habit 3 – Eating The Same Foods Constantly
Humans did not evolve with the same level of access to the sheer abundance of food present in the modern world. In the old world, it was not practical to have a “favourite” food which you would eat almost exclusively. Before agriculture, humans relied on what they could scavenge or hunt. It was very common to go days without food too.
After the invention of agriculture, foods were still very much a seasonal affair. You had to wait the better part of a year before food could be harvested – and a cold winter or mysterious disease could destroy your crops in a heartbeat.
Low levels of diversity in the food you choose to consume has a direct effect on your gut health. The less diverse the food you eat is – the less diverse the flora in your gut is. This is because different strains of bacteria in your gut require different kinds of nutrients. Eating the same type of food over and over can create an imbalance.
What’s wrong with an imbalance?
An imbalance can make healing a damaged gut microbiome MUCH more difficult. If you get an infection or you have to take antibiotics – you’ll take longer to recover.
it’s possible that taking in live bacterial cultures can help speed the process along, and combining this approach with a diet rich in prebiotic and probiotic foods will likely see your guts in good health.