The gut? Is that even an organ? That’s the initial reaction of most! I personally came about this fact only after graduating as a doctor! With an increasing number of patients needing solutions for their digestive issue, I delved further into the root cause and was amazed to discover a whole new world inside our bodies – the world of the microbiome – the GUT!
A lot of people mistake the stomach for the gut, but let it be firmly established that your stomach is not the same as your gut. The gut extends all the way from the mouth and ends at the anus. Everything in between the mouth and the anus is the GUT and it’s a world of microorganisms!
I’ve noticed a steady rise in complaints related to indigestion since the pandemic – there’s either elevated levels of acidity or bloating or constipation or flatulence, which leads to stomach-ache. While research is still ongoing, there is no denying how Covid has impacted the ‘gut population’. The gut comprises a mix of good bacteria and bad bacteria. An increase in the bad bacteria population leads to indigestion symptoms. This imbalance of bacterial population is called ‘Dysbiosis’. We need to strike a balance of in the gut population for the best possible health.
When patient tells me they stopped or reduced intake of proteins because it gave them indigestion, I help them understand that protein is not the problem, it is the dysbiosis that’s creates the ruckus. The benefits of maintaining a Balanced Microbiome or good and bad gut bacteria are many… It helps Regulate Your Body Weight. Microbes are responsible as regards how much energy your body extracts from different types of foods you eat. If you are unable to lose weight, one of the main reasons could be an unhealthy microbiome. The microbiome also Helps In Regulating Your Immune System. As per research, a healthy microbiome helps in reducing the occurrence of cold and cough episodes, as well as reducing inflammation in the body. And importantly, the microbiome helps in converting parts of indigestible food into chemicals which are beneficial for our health.
So, how can we make our healthy microbiome diverse in our body?
– Avoid antibiotics when not needed. I’ve seen people wrongly self-medicate themselves with antibiotics for viral colds and coughs. Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections and not viral infections. It should only be consumed when medically prescribed. A week’s course of antibiotics course can mess up your gut health for up to 3 weeks!
– Increase your outdoor activities, keep your homes well ventilated with sunlight and fresh air – this boosts diversity of healthy microbes.
– Include different kinds of seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. The microbiome population improves with a diverse diet.