Did you know that the gut is also referred to as our second brain? It does make sense, because gut health affects both our physical and mental well-being. Looking after your gut maintains inner strength and you stay healthier.
Healthy gut strengthens immunity
The gut is the largest immunological organ − an organ that is part of the immune system − in the human body. Gut well-being is directly linked to our overall health. We get the nutrients we need from the food that passes through the gut, but food and drink may also contain substances harmful to the body, such as allergens. One of the gut’s jobs is to prevent these substances from entering the body’s other systems.
When the gastrointestinal wall is suitably dense, the gut protects the body from harmful substances, and a balanced bacterial flora helps keep the wall in good shape. Sometimes stress, antibiotics or the wrong kind of diet disturb the bacterial balance and the proportion of adverse compared with beneficial bacteria in the gut grows too high. The gut then passes unsuitable substances into the system and they cause for instance inflammations and allergic reactions which may be felt as stomach ache, bloating, or flatulence.
“Around 70% of human immunity is located in the gut.”
When the beneficial bacteria in the gut prevail, the body feels better. Good gut bacteria decrease acute gastrointestinal inflammation, diarrhoea, as well as other infections, allergies, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, and functional gastrointestinal disorders.
Healthy gut, better mood
You might not have thought that what goes on in the gut also affects the functioning of the brain, and our mood. Yet the gut microbiota and bacterial balance are indeed linked to our brain function, so when your gut is well, the brain works better.
Gastrointestinal disorders may manifest in our mood and can even lead to mental health problems, such as depression and chronic tiredness. Functional gastrointestinal disorders and especially irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are well-known examples of a disturbance in the link between gut and brain.