The gut is a 30-foot long tube that runs from your esophagus and into your stomach, through the intestines, before winding down at the rectum. It is a delicate digestive system, which is highly dependent on the food you eat and the fluids you take. It is known by other names such as the alimentary canal or the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
Its role in your body is to digest and absorb food and to ensure that everything glides smoothly along. It also takes care of your immune system by maintaining a healthy gut to wade off harmful bacteria and disease. Specifically, it is important to restore and maintain gut health for the following reasons:
1. It Plays an Important Role in Your Overall Health
Your overall health depends heavily on a healthy gut, especially the gut microbiota; that collection of diverse microorganisms that reside in your gastrointestinal tract. It has been shown to contribute to a healthy homeostasis and pathogenesis. It also acts as a communications nerve centre to and from the brain.
It plays a major role in the overall health of your body. To keep the GIT healthy and active, eat well, be active, maintain a healthy body weight, get screened regularly, and avoid harmful habits such as smoking.
2. It’s Your First Line of Defence Against Diseases
The gut not only ensures optimal digestion and communication to and from the brain, but it also performs other important functions related to your health. Your gut and brain work together to aid your digestion process, with the brain determining what, when and how fast you eat or drink. As the first line of defence against diseases, the gut helps in the digestion of foods and fluids.
3. It Boosts Your Immunity
The gastrointestinal tract lining is exposed to foreign substances by way of the food you take, and fluids and other substances that find their way into your mouth. Invariably, pathogenic substances and harmful bacteria can find their way into your gut. Peyer’s patches, nodules of lymphoid tissue or large oval clusters that are present in the small intestines’ walls play a big role in boosting your immunity.
They monitor your gut’s lining and, if need be, initiate an immune reaction by producing antibodies to combat the rogue antigens and any allergy-causing substance.
4. It Lowers Stress Levels
An unhealthy gut is a major cause of stress. A healthy gut helps you stay in a good mood or in the right state of mind. This is because it is responsible for the production of 90% of your body’s serotonin, a hormone for regulating your emotions and moods. This has the desired effect of eliminating or lowering your stress levels.
Stress is a major cause of gut problems. It can cause bloating or chronic nausea and end up triggering diseases or aggravate symptoms, especially in people suffering from the inflammatory bowel syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, and a range of other gut conditions.
5. It Regulates Metabolism and Digestion
The pancreas plays an important role in your digestive system. It releases digestive enzymes into your small intestines to break down fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. It also produces glucagon and insulin, hormones that regulate your blood sugar and keep your body adequately metabolized.
6. The Gut Is Your Second “Brain”
Believe it or not, your mental health is greatly dependent on the health of your gut. It is the home of millions of neurons and trillions of microbes that are embedded in your GI’s wall. Combined, the nerve cells found in the gut are more than those found in your entire spine. It has been established that 90% of these neurons are in active communication with your brain and therefore control your emotions and sense of wellbeing.
Besides, half of the dopamine and 90% of serotonin have their home in the gut. These neurotransmitters relay chemical gut messages to the brain, affecting your energy, mood, and digestion.