Gut lovin’ health benefits

A happy gut can change your mood and help your immune system fight nasty viruses, help regulate sleep and much, much more. Wow, impressive, your gut really is quite the genius.

Gut health + mood

Your gut and brain communicate with each other through the gut brain axis. Special signalling hormones and other little messengers ride this highway back and forth between the gut and brain all day long. There’s now more and more evidence that people with healthier guts feel happier. With an estimated 80% of serotonin (the happy hormone) produced in the gut, it’s no wonder that your gut might have more control over your mood than your brain! And get this – there are 10 neural highways running from your gut to your brain and only one coming back the other way – who’s really calling the shots?! Read more on the gut brain axis here.

Gut health + immunity

Not only does your gut have a big say in how you are feeling, but it’s home to a whopping 70% of your immune system – so it’s the bit of you that fights off viruses and all other sorts of invaders too. A healthy immune system creates a barrier to stop these enemies entering the body. Certain autoimmune conditions such as Celiac Disease mean the immune system will mistakenly attack healthy tissue and in this case it is when gluten enters the gut. Genius bread is gluten free and contains a source of iron to contribute to the normal functioning of the immune system. Read more on the link between gut health and the autoimmune condition Celiac Disease here.

Gut health + sleep

How can gut health affect your sleep? It’s no secret that there is a connection between diet and therefore gut health & sleep (or lack of!), but until recently it was not clear how they were interlinked. Our circadian rhythm, the internal clock that regulates our body, dictates the day and night shift. It not only tells our body when to feel sleepy but also when different types of gut microbes should get to work – for example, the microbes on the day shift do a different job to those on the night shift!

Being sleep deprived can mean our appetite doesn’t know if it is coming or going so we feel an increase in food cravings (chocolate anyone?) which can cause weight gain. Lack of sleep and gut health are directly linked as it reduces the level of the hormone leptin that tells your body it is full. But it’s a two way street and an unhealthy gut may produce an unbalanced level of sleep-inducing hormones such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA, and melatonin having a negative impact on sleep. An additional reason for poor sleep is stress and when your gut isn’t up to scratch it can exacerbate the body’s stress response. Improving both your gut health and your sleep schedule should go hand in hand.

Gut health + heart disease

It’s early days in research of gut health and heart disease with most studies simply observational which can only show associations rather than causations. But there does appear to be a connection between having a diverse gut microbiome and a healthy heart. For example, gut bacteria play a role in the build-up that can block arteries leading to heart attacks. And those with a healthy heart tend to have gut bacteria that protect them from inflammation compared to those who don’t.

Gut health + cancer

Some studies have indicated that certain cancers such as bowel cancer may have a link to a type of bad gut bacteria that could help cancer grow. This bacteria is more common in those with an inflammatory diet high in processed foods, refined carbs and sugar. So it’s a good idea to swap these out for fruits, veggies, spices and healthy fats to reduce the risk of inflammation. Having an unbelievably healthy gut will unfortunately not fix everything and there’s no evidence to say gut health is a cancer cure but looking after your gut can take away some of the key risk factors for certain types of cancers.

Release your inner genius

There is a plethora of research connecting your gut and many health benefits that come from giving it some love which in our book makes the gut a total genius. Why not check out some of gut health heroes here to learn about other benefits of having a healthy gut. When it feels great you’re just unconquerable.