Much of our overall health stems from the health of our gut. This is because 70 percent of the cells that make up your immune system are found within your gut walls. Ninety percent of your body’s serotonin—a neurotransmitter responsible for mood, appetite, sexual desire, sleep, digestion, and memory—is made within the digestive tract. Therefore, when your gut is impaired, your overall health takes a plunge too.
To support a healthy gut, probiotics, prebiotics, fermented foods, and fiber are essential. On the other hand, there are many foods that can make your gut sick and destroy gut flora, which can weaken your immune system along with bogging down your digestive system.
Here are a few ways you’re sabotaging your own digestive system.
Processed food: These foods are full of chemicals and artificial ingredients that can disrupt your gut microbiota and flora. This results in inflammation, which triggers bloating, constipation, mood swings, cramps, and weight gain.
Gluten: Gluten is a sticky protein that helps bind the shape of food and gives it shape. For those with a gluten intolerance, it is incredibly difficult to digest, which can lead to adverse reactions and symptoms. People with celiac disease are unable to digest gluten, so their immune system begins to attack it, causing negative symptoms. These symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, headache, fatigue, skin rashes, severe stomach pains, and vomiting.
Meat: A high intake of meat can increase undesirable bacteria, which decreases the level of good bacteria. Meat, when metabolized, produces a toxic substance known as TMAO, which can lead to inflammation and intestinal disease. So
Refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners: These ingredients are found in the majority of junk foods, juices, cereals, condiments, sodas, and sugar substitutes. They can encourage overgrowth of bacteria, inflammation, and nutrient depletion.
Dairy: Similar to gluten, having a dairy intolerance or allergy can cause unwanted symptoms and trigger inflammation.
Tap water: A lot of tap water is full of chlorine along with other chemicals that can kill off good bacteria when consumed. When possible, opt for filtered water, especially when traveling abroad.
Related: Simple tips to prevent bloating and indigestion