Understanding Gut Health

Content by: Erin Nugent, RD

Did you know the microbiome is responsible for a variety of bodily functions? Trillions of microorganisms that coexist within the body! Largest population found within the large and small intestines. Learn more...

Understanding Gut Health


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Share the Benefits of a Healthy Gut!

Aids in Digestion.
The microbiota present within the digestive system support nutrient absorption and utilization. Complex carbohydrates (resistant starches and fibers) travel to the lower intestine where the microbiota help to break them down. The microbiome can generate new compounds that serve as energy sources for the body’s cells and reduce inflammation.

Supports a Healthy Immune System.
It is estimated that 60-80% of the immune system is located within the gut. When the gut has a healthy balance of “good bacteria”, it can help to prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria. The good bacteria competes for energy sources and attachment sites within the gut. The Microbiome is able to stimulate and educate the immune system on how to respond to pathogens.

A Connection with Mental Health.
The gut houses serotonin receptors. A healthy microbiome allows for effective use serotonin. A healthy gut offers potential reduction in symptoms of anxiety or depression. Research also points to a link between the microbiome and the circadian rhythm, and possibly promotes healthy sleep patterns.

Don't forget! Review the attached Slides for your group presentations!

Quick tips!

Consider Prebiotics. Non-digestible carbohydrates fermented by the gut microbiota. Commonly available in high fiber foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. These resistant starches are able to pass through the digestive system to become a fuel source for the microbiota.

Next Steps:

1. Make food choices that promote a diverse gut microbiome.
2. Fuel and stimulate the function of probiotics! Consume a variety of prebiotic foods (high fiber foods).
3. Regular exercise! The best way to promote weight management and in turn provides a healthy
4. environment for the gut microbiota.
5. Stay hydrated. Promote regular bowel movements and an overall healthy digestive system

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