Researchers now believe the answer is YES… why?
- This is where we breakdown foods into the nutrients that our body needs.
- The gut contains the highest concentration of immune cells within our body!
- The Gut is linked physically & chemically to the brain.
Recent studies have shown that our brain affects our gut health and our gut can even affect our brain health. The gut is an integral part of the nervous system, so the brain can easily affect gut function. Ever recognized the brain-gut connection? such as butterflies or nausea from feeling nervous or stressed.
What we eat and how our bodies digest this food plays a significant role in keeping us healthy and functioning correctly. So why would we not focus on what we are eating?
80% of our immune cells are located within our gut! That is the highest concentration of immune cells in our entire body. Every time we eat, we are exposed to the external environment and our bodies immune system kicks into gear. It decides whether the food is a virus or something we can absorb as nutrients for the body (for example, GLUTEN- if you have an intolerance to gluten, your immune system tags it as a virus which then causes reactions in the gut).
Food intolerance can be described as a difficulty digesting certain foods and having an unpleasant physical reaction to them. It can occur as a child or an adult. The actual cause is unknown but things chronic stress or trauma can trigger symptoms.
Steps to take if you suspect a food intolerance:
- Firstly, if you recognise yourself having more than one of the signs/symptoms of an intolerance to certain food groups (abdominal pain, reflux, sinus issues, bloating, skin rashes , itching, diarrhoea, change in bowel movements) it is important to seek medical advice and get a correct diagnosis.
- Keep a food & symptom diary to track certain triggers.
- See a specialist Dietician- follow a restricted diet for two weeks to see if symptoms resolve.
Leaky Gut is a condition where the lining of the small intestine has become damaged. Small holes are torn in the gut lining. This allows toxins to leak into the bloodstream – causing symptoms and disease- especially malabsorption conditions like osteoporosis.
When the contents of our gut can “leak” into our bodies, our immune system is activated, and this creates inflammatory chemicals. These chemicals travel around our body and affect areas such as our joints, skin and brain. This high immune response also leads to GI problems (such as acid reflux, gas production and or multiple food intolerances).
Causes of leaky gut: The most common is caused by an imbalance in the bacteria in our gut (also known as the gut microbiome). An overflow of harmful bacteria is usually caused by a poor diet, a long course of antibiotics or chronic stress.
Having good gut bacteria is important as it turns the food we eat into healthy compounds. These healthy compounds heal the tight areas between our cells and protect the lining of the gut barrier.
So, what does this mean? It means our diet does matter…The food we eat determines which bacteria will thrive (the good kind or the bad).
The good news is, we can repair our gut! Meaning a potential food intolerance may not have to last forever. The types of food we digest have the biggest influence on our microbiome, which is why we should always start by looking into our diet first!
So, in conclusion… Fuel your body well, have a happy gut and a happier, healthier life!
If you suspect you have Leaky Gut or any Gut Health issues I recommend you seek a professional diagnosis from a specialist dietitian or doctor who can then plan correct treatment. Treatment may involve lifestyle or diet changes, probiotics/various nutritional supplements and or medication.