Diet & Nutrition

Gut health: The benefits of looking after your gut

What is your gut telling you?

By BTYB Nu-Lax
We often hear people saying "trust your gut" and asking, "What does your gut tell you?", but it turns out there's much more to these metaphors than simply following our instincts.
Research has shown that our gut actually functions like a 'second brain' in our overall health and wellbeing, producing 90 per cent of the body's serotonin (the happy hormone), and housing essential nutrients and bacteria that perform integral everyday functions, including digestion and metabolic functions.
In short, a healthy gut is key to a happy and healthy body so it should be your number one priority. Here, four benefits to looking after your gut health.

1. A strong immune system

If you're prone to sickness and often feel worn down and lethargic, your gut may be the cause. The gut wall contains around 70 per cent of the cells that make up your immune system, so if your gut is in poor health, then so too are these cells - and this throws your immune system entirely out of whack. Studies have found that gut bacteria also play a central part in the development of white blood cells - your body's front line of defence against infection.
Boosting your immunity can be as simple as upping your fibre intake. Supplements rich in prebiotics such as Nu-Lax Daily Prebiotic Fruit & Fibre powder are a great way to boost your fibre intake. The prebiotic powder acts as fuel for your good gut bacteria, using a blend of natural fibres and fruit powders to support digestive health and wellbeing. And the best part - it has no artificial colours or sweeteners, and makes a tasty anytime treat!
Nu-Lax Daily Prebiotic Fruit & Fibre, $12.49 at Chemist Warehouse.

2. A healthy gut equals a happy mind

There's a reason why your stomach aches when you're stressed and 'drops' when you hear bad news - it turns out that there is a direct link between the enteric nervous system (ENS) in the gut and the central nervous system (CNS) in the brain and spinal cord. This 'gut-brain axis' is where the second brain idea comes from.
So it should come as no surprise that gut issues often correlate with higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression. Mixing poor diets with alcohol and fast-paced lifestyles can produce a toxic concoction that has detrimental effects on gut flora, causing an overgrowth of bad bacteria - and an unhealthy gut.
The remedy? A diet rich in both prebiotics and probiotics. Recent studies have shown the positive impact of a healthy gut microbiome (the collective of microorganisms that play a key role in digesting food and absorbing nutrients) on mood, motivation and cognition.
While this positive perk of pre- and probiotics could be a game-changer for some, you should always seek professional help if you're feeling down, overly stressed or anxious.

3. Maintain your goal weight

Kick diet fads to the curb and opt for gut-nourishing foods and supplements instead - think fibre-rich and fermented. A healthy gut allows your body to digest foods efficiently, absorbing essential nutrients, processing fats and proteins and - uh - getting rid of any excess waste. Prebiotics and probiotics are the cornerstones of a healthy gut microbiome, meaning these processes are carried out more easily and efficiently, shifting any unwanted fats rather than storing them.
Try kick-starting your gut efficiency with supplements like Nu-Lax Everyday Detox Tonic that contains the 'mother' of apple cider vinegar - naturally-fermented with probiotics and fresh-pressed aloe vera juice that is rich in prebiotics. This tonic stimulates digestion, assists with appetite control and weight management, and promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Say goodbye to bloating and hello to feeling confident, refreshed and energised.
Nu-Lax Everyday Detox Tonic, $22.99 at Chemist Warehouse.

4. An improved complexion

Eczema, acne, dryness and irritated skin could all be signs of a bacteria imbalance in your microbiota. Consuming natural probiotics from sources such as kombucha, kefir, saurkraut and kimchi in addition to prebiotics will increase the amount of good bacteria in your gut – the type of bacteria needed to help restore you gut to normal balance.
And whether you love or hate them, green juices (read: Jenna Dewan's early morning celery juice) are a quick and easy recipe to better skin, immunity and overall gut health!
Brought to you by Nu-Lax