Published on March 07, 2019

A Healthy Gut. A Healthy You.

Join Carlie Kamnik, registered dietitian from Chestnut Hill Hospital, at our Healthy Gut lecture at Roxborough YMCA, 7201 Ridge Ave. on Monday, March 11, at 12:30 p.m. To register for the presentation, please call 215-753-2000 or visit ChestnutHill.TowerHealth.org for details. The event is free, though registration is required. Take control of your digestive health and register today.

Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician and “Father of Modern Medicine,” made a perceptive observation when he said that all disease starts in the gut. Although not completely true, he probably meant that if gut health is compromised, the risk of disease and disorder typically rises. What does it mean to have a healthy gut? Many people think of the gut as simply the stomach, but it includes the entire digestive system, starting from the mouth and teeth moving down the esophagus, stomach, small intestines and large intestines. Each piece of your digestive system has a job that contributes to gut health.

During the last 20 years, researchers have learned of the increasingly important role bacteria play, not only in digesting food, but also in the overall impact on your well-being. Most people have approximately 160 different kinds of gut bacteria. An imbalance of gut bacteria negatively affects how the body absorbs nutrients. Researchers have even found a growing amount of research connecting weight imbalance to gut health.

“Gut bacteria have been considered simply as digestive aids for many years,” says dietitian Carlie Kamnik. “But now we know that quantity and variety of bacteria affect our overall well-being in many ways.”

Having a healthy makeup of gut bacteria can also prevent unhealthy, disease-causing bacteria from forming. Your gut health influences your mood and brain function, and can also impact your behavior and psychological and emotional states, which explains why a gut bacteria imbalance has been linked to stress, anxiety and depression. Many aspects of your general health mirror your gut health.

Eating a wide variety of plant-based foods rich in fiber along with a daily serving of probiotics can improve gut health. Eating healthy and learning what foods should be part of your daily diet is important for an active and healthy lifestyle. Talk to a medical professional when making any major modifications to your diet.