Feel like you’re always craving sugar? Not getting enough sleep? These are just a couple of signs your gut may be out of balance. The word “gut” gets thrown around quite a lot in the wellness word, but what exactly does it mean? Your gut, also known as the microbiome, is a community of microorganisms, both good and bad. When your gut is healthy, the good bacteria in your gut keeps the bad in check. When your gut is unhealthy, there’s excessive bad bacteria, which can also be stuck behind plaque. An unhealthy gut can cause a variety of digestive issues, like SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), candida, gas, bloating, and other stomach problems.
A poor diet, excessive stress, lack of sleep, and even genetics can be causes of an unhealthy gut. Some other hidden factors that can disrupt your gut include eating too much sugar, using antibacterial soap, taking antibiotics, not eating enough dietary fiber, drinking too much alcohol, and not taking probiotics. Here’s how to know if your gut isn’t happy.
If you feel like you’re getting sick all the time, then you may need to reboot your gut. The majority of your immune system lies in the microbiome, so an unhealthy gut can also compromise your immune system.
It seems every time you have an issue inside the body, it shows up on the skin. Your skin is one of the best indicators of the state of your health. When your gut is unhealthy, your skin will appear lackluster, and you are more likely to experience allergic reactions, excessively dry or oily skin, eczema, and acne.
If you frequently experience gas or bloating, constipation, little to no bowel movements, a feeling of heaviness after eating, or have loose stools or undigested food in your stools, then you may have an unhealthy gut. Other digestive issues that may be a sign of gut imbalance include having to run to the bathroom immediately after eating. If you have frequent yeast infections, then you may have poor gut health.
If you have an unhealthy gut, then you are likely experiencing yeast overgrowth. Yeast feeds on carbs found in white starches, sugars, fruit, processed foods, juices, and sweets and desserts. If you’re craving carbs and sugar, then try munching on more dietary fiber and probiotic-rich foods.
Speaking of carbs and sweets, your mental health can take a toll when eating too many of these types of foods. A high-sugar diet can result in brain fog, mood swings, headaches, trouble with memory, inability to concentrate, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Optimal gut health can reduce the risk of depression and increase feelings of happiness, so having an unhealthy gut can cause the opposite effect. Anxiety, depression and irritability are all signs of issues in the microbiome.
Lack of Energy
Do you feel constantly tired? If you’re getting 8 hours of sleep, yet still feel fatigued throughout the day, then you should prioritize restoring your gut. When you have a balanced and healthy gut, you’ll likely feel a healthy, consistent energy throughout the day when getting enough sleep.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, then your gut may be an issue. To reset your but and restore balance, try taking a high-quality probiotic, prebiotic, and digestive enzymes. Eat more fiber-rich foods and probiotic foods. Reduce stress through yoga or meditation and make sure you get enough sleep.
Kate Wilke is a 200-RYT yoga instructor, meditation teacher, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She teaches and works with clients in Nashville, TN. She believes in self-care in the form of colorful, healthy cooking, daily walks with her dog, and a glass of red wine. Follow her on Instagram — @meditatekate