Bad nutrition the root cause of all gut aliments

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The digestive tract is a lot more than simply a food processing internal system. Our gut plays an essential role in the interaction between diet and immunity. It is the widest-reaching contact area with the environment, larger than the skin or respiratory system. If we spread it out on a flat surface it would of similar size as a tennis court, with the doubles lanes included. Moreover, our gut has an interface with other cells in the body, which means that discomfort in the gut can show up as disturbances in the brain and vice versa.

As a fact, the brain actually shuts off digestion before the gut as we tend to secrete acids and digestive enzymes before even swallowing the very first bite of a meal. Did you ever experience the feeling of not being able to eat when you are anxious or stressed? Our gastrointestinal tracts work really hard to keep us healthy. When our gut health is poor, we do tend to face major health consequences.

A visit to the doctor might end with a diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), leaky gut (LG), food sensitivities, and bacterial imbalances or maybe no specific diagnosis at all because symptoms often overlap and it can be tricky to identify the root causes of these digestive disorders.

Now here, nutrition can come into the picture. The correct diet strengthens the gut in its protective role, improving the overall health and well-being of an individual. The nutritional requirements of the body are important and here also, the gut plays a crucial role. A badly functioning gut can not only be discomforting, but it can also have a serious impact on other physiological functions in the body. The hard-working gut allows important nutrients and water to enter our body while restricting the entry of toxins/antigens. It works as a selective barrier between “us” and the outside world. But when the gut is upset or distressed, it can’t act in our defence. Instead, it allows unfavourable compounds to enter the body.


Bad nutrition the root cause of all gut aliments

Bad nutrition the root cause of all gut aliments


Common Gastrointestinal ailments include bloating, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diarrhoea, heartburn, acid reflux, constipation, nausea and other major issues like, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease, most of the times such problems are of unknown origin and resist treatment.  However, the symptoms and cause in many of these cases can be improved or even resolved by making modification in the diet.  It is now well researched that gluten-containing grains may lead to the formation of spaces between the intestinal cells (the tight junctions) to open.

When this happens the natural gut barrier to undigested foods, toxins and gut microbes are compromised. This is termed as “leaky gut”. Moreover, white blood cells may come in contact with the gut contents which can further lead to local inflammation, swelling, or irritation in the intestines. This condition is usually resolved when the food triggers or the allergens are excluded from the diet. The Alcat Test is an effective way to identify allergic foods and other ingestions that act as triggers for gut ailments.

As there is a vast trend in the incidence of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) worldwide especially in developing countries, there have also been concerns about the role of dietary habits and eating patterns in the pathogenesis of IBD.

It is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders associated with abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation.  Increased risk of IBD, both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (CD) have been reported widely with higher intake of sugar or sugar-containing foods like soft drinks and less intake of fruits and vegetables.

Dietary approach, which is mostly looked after by patients suffering from gut issues, is to gain advice on what to eat to avoid the problems. Patients should not only be concerned on what should be avoided or restricted, but also on what foods would be beneficial for them and help in relieving the symptoms.

You might have read or heard that we have more bacteria in the gut than cells in our body. Gut bacteria can be classified as harmful or helpful. Good bacterias are like busy tourists in the guts. They come work and go. But we don’t have a permanent supply of these beneficial bacterias, so to maintain the gut economy, we need to regularly replenish them through diet. Consuming the required amount of fibre and probiotics would help in restoring the gut microbiome.

Beneficial gut bacteria helps in the manufacturing of certain vitamins like B12, K, B6, B5, B3, folate and biotin in the body, enhances the absorption of minerals, fight off pathogens, helps in digesting food, and metabolizing drugs. They directly or indirectly influences the total body metabolism.

Reduction in good bacteria can also be there due to low iron levels or a diet which is low in carbohydrates. Simultaneously, excessive carbohydrate consumption can also contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria in small intestinal, also known as Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). So for patients who are suffering from SIBO, a diet low in carbohydrates and a comparatively high protein/fat diet can be beneficial.

Eating enough fibre plays a significant role in maintaining the gut health. Fibre slows down the process of digestion in the small intestine, then makes its way to the large intestine and ferment there, forming short chain fatty acids, which is an important source of fuel for the body.

While there can be many causes of gut problems, there is always a major cause. Identify it before you mask symptoms with prescribed drugs. Our bodies have a well-established relationship with whole foods.  Food preservatives and additives, on the other hand, are a big challenge for our overall metabolism.

Salty foods, fried foods and processed meats has been found to reduce the metabolic functions and increase the risk of gastric ailments while consumption of fruits, and unprocessed vegetables have a protective effect on the gut. Hence a balanced diet with correct food strategies could be used as a health promoting intervention in gastro intestinal diseases and overall systematic health.

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