Why Is Gut Health So Important?
At YUMCHI, we are so passionate about gut health so we teamed up with Nutritional Therapist and Function Medicine Expert, Marilia Chamon, to explain why it's so important for each and every one of us...
Nutritional therapy is the promotion of health through nutrition and lifestyle support that uses an evidence-based approach to maximise a person’s health through personalised nutrition and lifestyle changes. It promotes the benefits of good, wholesome, unprocessed foods for optimal health and wellbeing as well as the therapeutic effects of particular foods for specific health conditions.
Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of imbalances and dysfunctions that underlie chronic health symptoms. It looks at factors, genetic or acquired, that predispose a person to an illness or pattern, factors that trigger symptoms and signs of dysfunction, as well as biochemical and psychosocial factors that contribute to negative changes and dysfunctional responses - all rooted in evidence and science.
What both of them have in common is the understanding that the gut is the epicentre of good health and that food is information that transforms our biology.
Our gastrointestinal tract is host to at least 100 trillion living microorganisms from over 1,000 different identified species that make up what is called the gut microbiome. Those microorganisms represent one of the most metabolically active systems within the human body and their activities are extremely important for our overall health.
Previously it was thought that the gut microbiome was only responsible for harvesting energy from the foods that we eat but we now know it does much more than that. It synthesises vitamins and hormones, regulates our metabolism and blood sugar, influences our genetic expression and brain chemistry, and is where about 70 percent of our immune system resides.
Every time we eat, our gut bacteria eats too. Food provides a number of nutrients they need in order to survive and make metabolites that are essential for our health.
Having good gut health means having a diverse and balanced number of bacteria residing in the gut as when this community gets out of balance a multitude of health problems can emerge. An imbalanced gut microbiome has been associated with health conditions such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome, depression, anxiety, food intolerances, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Research continuously demonstrates that one of the best ways to achieve good gut health is by eating a varied and minimally processed diet, aiming for 30 to 40 different plant foods per week. Think vegetables, fruits, beans, pulses, whole grains, nuts and seeds in all shapes, sizes and colours. In addition to eating the rainbow, a recent study demonstrated that eating fermented foods such as kimchi can also increase gut bacteria diversity leading to better immune response.
Although diet is of extreme importance, adequate sleep, stress management and exercise also play an important role in shaping our gut microbiome.
One of the most interesting aspects about this incredible community is that it is as unique as your fingerprints and you would not find anyone that has the same gut microbiome composition as you, one of the many reasons why personalised nutrition is so relevant to the management and prevention of chronic health conditions.
Nutritional Therapy and Functional Medicine have gut health as the starting point of pretty much every health journey and for that reason I am incredibly passionate about empowering you to look after yours through diet and lifestyle as both can affect microbial balance in a good or bad way. Learn more about Marilla's work on her website or Instagram. or @gutfulnessnutrition