Your gut's fate lies in the delicate balance of good bacteria and good-for-you foods. And because your gut is the epicenter of your body's proper function, if it's not working right, a lot can go wrong.
In other words, if your gut's not happy, nobody's happy.
We break down every system the gut can affect, and how you can start improving your health today.
If your gut issues persist, it could signal a larger gastrointestinal issue such as Celiac Disease or Ulcerative Colitis. Speak with your doctor if you have concerns.
Hormones1 of 6
Yeast infections, painful periods, acne—these all sound like side effects of PMS, but they can also go hand-in-hand with a microbiome imbalance. Hormones, like the microbiome, need to be handled with care. If you feel off, listen to your body.
Tip: Eat fermented foods and take a quality probiotic that has at least seven different strains. Probiotics are largely unregulated, so it's important to do your research and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.
Mood2 of 6
There has long been a link between gastrointestinal abnormalities and mood disorders, although scientists aren't entirely sure what comes first. Regardless, it's a good link to be aware of. Take steps to nurture your gut health, knowing your mood might be at stake.
Tip: Replace those sugary go-to comfort foods with natural mood boosters like berries (everyone loves berries, right?) or Vitamin D-rich cheese and eggs.
Sleep3 of 6
The vast majority of your body's serotonin, the building block for the sleep hormone melatonin, is located in the gut. It's no coincidence then that your gut and "internal alarm clock" are connected. Whether it's jet lag, a late-night meal or stress that's keeping you up, it's important to set your system up for success.
Tip: Consistency is the key here; try to keep a similar bed time and waking schedule every day (even on weekends). Do the same with meal times. Your gut will love you for it.
Immunity4 of 6
Do you get sick often? Does a coworker's sickness translate to a few sick days for you, as well? The answer probably lies in your gut, which influences the body's immune system. Ever notice that after a round of antibiotics (which kill off your good bacteria, too), you may get sick with something else soon after? It's the microbiome imbalance that's wreaking havoc on your body.
Tip: Food add-ins like garlic and bone broth are excellent immune system boosters and microbiome re-setters.
Weight5 of 6
According to researchers, there's a major disparity in the amount of gut bacteria between healthy people and obese people. Those who are thinner have an average of about 70 percent more gut bacteria, making it far easier for their body to absorb nutrients and keep their metabolism up.
Tip: Keep that stomach full with lots of fiber, but not the kind you get from processed foods. Instead, think natural fiber like leafy greens, broccoli, beans and avocados.