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Why Gut Health Matters

Gut health is a hot topic in the medical field today. But, why exactly is gut health important? 

Many people assume that the gut only affects the digestive system. While the gut is essential for digestion, it also has far-reaching effects on virtually every part of the body. 

Gut health matters because it impacts your:

Mental Health

The gut contains a host of nerve cells that belong to the enteric nervous system, or ENS. Sometimes called the “second brain”, the ENS sends and receives messages from the brain. 

When your gut is irritated or inflamed, the ENS transmits signals to the brain. Conversely, when you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, the brain transmits signals to the brain. So, poor gut health can exacerbate mental health conditions including stress, anxiety, and depression, and vice versa. 

Weight Management

Although maintaining a healthy weight hinges largely on healthy eating habits and regular exercise, your gut may be impacting it more significantly than you realize. The gut microbiome contains trillions of bacteria that can dictate several different aspects of your health. In particular, these bacteria can affect fat storage, digestion, hunger, and satiety (feeling full). 

With this in mind, protecting the health of your gut microbiome may support weight loss efforts. A balanced, fiber-rich diet, among other lifestyle factors, can help you maintain a balanced gut microbiome.  

Immune Health

The gut and immune system are closely linked, given that 70% of the immune system is found in the gastrointestinal tract. So, the food that you eat can impact the health and function of your immune cells. Your immune system will be the strongest and most effective at fighting off foreign invaders with a diverse, healthy gut microbiome. 

At The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine, we can help you manage symptoms of poor gut health with an integrative approach. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

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