Health spotlight: Taking care of your gut

Your gut — or digestive system — is like a busy city inside your body. It’s where your body breaks down the food you eat into energy and nutrients. But that’s not all. Your gut also helps protect you from getting sick and plays a part in how you feel.

Inside your gut are trillions of tiny living microorganisms — in fact, there are about as many of these microorganisms in your gut as there are actual cells in your body! Most of these are good bacteria that help your body work properly. But sometimes, if you’re stressed, not sleeping enough, or eating too much junk food, the balance of good and bad bacteria can get messed up. This can make you feel unwell and lead to bigger health problems.

So, how can you keep your gut healthy? Here are six easy tips:

  1. Eat Different Foods: Eating a mix of foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats, and healthy fats can help keep your gut bacteria happy and healthy.
  2. Eat Probiotics and Prebiotics: Probiotics are good bacteria found in foods like yogurt and pickles. Prebiotics are found in foods like bananas and oats, and they help the good bacteria grow.
  3. Drink Plenty of Water: Water helps your digestion and keeps the lining of your gut healthy.
  4. Cut Down on Junk Food: Foods that are high in sugar, unhealthy fats and fake ingredients can hurt your gut bacteria and cause inflammation.
  5. Relax: Too much stress can upset your gut. Try to do things that help you relax, like reading, yoga, or deep breathing.
  6. Sleep Well: Try to get about 8 hours of sleep each night. Not sleeping enough can mess up the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.

A happy gut means a healthy you — so, take care of it! Do you have gut issues? What strategies have you tried to calm it down? Share them with the Shop Talk blog community!

Did you know: Our second brain

The gut is often referred to as the “second brain” because it contains its own network of neurons — around 100 million of them — in the lining of the gastrointestinal system. This network, called the Enteric Nervous System, is so extensive it can operate on its own and plays a key role in digestion, mood, and behavior.