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The ScoopYour gut is the gateway to good health

Part 1 of 7

Gut health is everywhere. From an avalanche of health foods specifically marketed for gut health to hashtags like #GutTok boasting over 700 million views on TikTok—gut health is currently one of the hottest health topics out there.

The main reason it's so popular is that research is helping us understand that what's happening in our gut has a major impact on the health of our whole body.

Gut health is central to our product philosophy, and this seven-part series explores the essential role your gut plays in your body—from your immune health, your skin, mood, and everything in between.

This post will provide an overview of gut health, its importance, and some best habits to ensure you stay healthy. While we don’t support the quick hacks and cure-alls you’ll see on TikTok, we do believe that if you want better health, there’s no better place to start than with your gut.

What is gut health?

Most often, the term “gut health” refers to your gut microbiome. 

The gut microbiome is a complex community of trillions of bacteria and other microorganisms that live in your intestines. While some can be harmful, most of them are good for you—they help you break down food and turn it into nutrients your body can use—important because if we’re not getting the nutrients we need, our bodies will have a difficult time-fighting disease or maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

A healthy gut means there are more good bacteria than harmful bacteria.

The good bacteria help keep the harmful bacteria in check by multiplying so often that the bad kind doesn't have space to grow. But, when they’re not strong enough, the bad guys can take over and use your nutrients to feed themselves, causing your health to suffer.

You can’t have healthy digestion without a healthy gut

One of the first signs that your gut health is out of balance is digestive issues.

It’s estimated by the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases that 60–70 million Americans suffer from digestive problems, a signal that many of us need to work on our gut health. This can include bloating and stomach upset.

When you suffer from issues like these, your digestive tract can't properly absorb nutrients from the food you eat, which can lead to serious health problems down the line.

Can you change your gut bacteria?

Your gut microbiome begins to affect your body the moment you’re born, but it does change as you grow and is affected by many lifestyle factors like diet, environment, medications, stress, sleep, and genetics.

Since everyone's gut microbiome is unique, there’s not one solution that will work for everyone—foods that help one person to thrive may cause irritation in others—but most experts agree there are steps you can take to improve the balance in your gut microbiome:

  • Eat foods rich in probiotics
    Probiotics are live microorganisms found in foods such as yogurt, aged cheese, kefir, or sauerkraut & pickled vegetables. Look on the ingredients list for live cultures of bacteria like bifidobacteria and lactobacilli.These are “good” bacteria like the ones already in your gut. So they help keep everything in balance.

  • Eat foods rich in prebiotics
    Prebiotics are fibers or polyphenols that your body doesn’t digest, so they travel to your lower digestive tract and act as a food source for the healthy bacteria in your gut. They’re found in high-fiber foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.

  • Take a digestive supplement
    For even more prebiotic and probiotic support, consider taking a supplement to maintain a healthy gut. We recommend a supplement with multiple kinds of bacteria that are stabilized for best effect.

  • Manage stress
    Stress can change the way your gut functions, and stress hormones may affect your bacteria balance. If you experience stress-related stomach issues, try some stress-management techniques such as meditation, breathwork, or exercise.

  • Exercise
    Something as simple as walking 45–60 minutes has shown to have a noticeable positive effect on your microbiota.

  • Take a probiotic supplement when prescribed an antibiotic
    Consult with your doctor about the long-term use of medications and the effect they have on the bacteria in your gut.

The human gut is complex. While research is ongoing, it seems clear that our gut microbiome impacts our whole-body health, and taking steps toward optimal gut health will benefit us in many ways.

Gut Health Series:

Your gut is the gateway to good health (part 1) 

How does gut health affect your skin? (part 2)  

For a balanced immune system, look to your gut (part 3)  

Improve your mood by improving your gut health (part 4)

How a healthy gut can be the key to a healthy heart (part 5)