Here is Just the Facts, a series in which we search the Greatist archives for the most important nuggets needed on a particular topic. It is the no-noise information that you need to have the way you need to have it.
Let’s face it: many of us don’t think too much about our digestive systems until we get an impatient growl or a cheeky sip of gas before dinner. But our gut plays a much bigger role in our overall wellbeing than we might think – it affects everything from our mental state and immunity to weight and skin.
For this reason, it is important to make sure that our bowels are in the best possible condition ̵
Hope you got your appetite up. Let’s Digest 28 Facts About Gut Health.
Who needs pretzels or potato chips when you have these delicious stats to nibble on?
1. Dozens of trillions of “good” bacteria live in your gut
They play an essential role in helping your body break down food and absorb essential nutrients. If you upset your balance, you will notice problems.
2. 75 percent of our immune system is in the stomach
That’s right – taking care of your bowels is very important if you want to improve whole body health.
3. Sixty to seventy million people in the US have digestive problems
Whether you’re regularly bloated, constipated, leaky, or Crohn’s, you are definitely not alone when experiencing a grim tum.
4. We farted 5 to 15 times a day
That said, if your partner tells you he’ll never break the wind, you can nickname him Pinocchio.
5. Men poop more often than women
So why-oh-why are the lines for the gentlemen’s toilets never that long? But seriously, studies show that everything from gut microbiome, diet, lifestyle, and exercise affects regularity.
6. Pooping 3 times a day is perfectly normal
So only poop 3 times a week. In principle, movements can vary. Here are 13 factors that can affect bowel movements.
7. 73 percent of women have digestive problems …
… before their periods. Read more about how Aunt Flo and your gut are more closely related than you might think.
8. 3.9 million US adults are taking probiotics and / or prebiotics
These dietary supplements are packed with beneficial live microorganisms that can help restore balance to the intestines and help maintain good digestion.
Sure, it has its own microbiome, but your gut is definitely not isolated. It affects our overall physical health.
9. Your bowels have an appetite for weight
Studies show that people with fewer different microbiome bacteria are more prone to storing fat, while these microorganisms also help send hunger signals to our brains.
10. Everyone’s optimal digestive health is different
So it can be difficult to decipher exactly what is going on when yours seems wrong. However, it can be helpful to keep a food journal.
11. IBS is certainly irritating
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common condition that affects the digestive tract, but has far-reaching physical effects (especially in women). Here are 12 symptoms to look out for.
12. Your stomach needs sleep too
Lack of sleep has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes. So, it’s no surprise that skipping valuable Zzz can affect your gut too.
13. Snooze positions make good poos (sort of)
Certain sleeping positions can promote healthy digestion and avoid unexpectedly noisy night farts.
14. Medication + Gut Health = Frenemies
Sometimes the need to take medication just cannot be avoided. However, some – particularly antibiotics – have a negative impact on the gut microbiome. So speak to your doctor if you are concerned about starting a new prescription.
15. An unhappy stomach is also evident on the outside
It’s not just about internal rumbling. Inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis are thought to be linked to poor digestive health.
16. You can get on your way to a happier Tum
See how exercise gets your bowels going – and what you can do to avoid unpleasant accidents on the go.
17. There is a yoga pose to aid digestion
Moving by holding the dog and child down can have positive effects on your digestive health alike. Mats ready, because we’ve rounded up the best stomach-friendly yoga poses.
The gut is called the “second brain” for good reason. It turned out that your stomach and mind were secret BFFs all along.
18. You can be really sick concerned
Those nervous butterflies don’t just fly into your stomach. Delve deeper into how a stressed bowel can create a worried mind.
19. Digestive disorders are a prerequisite for depression
What if an unhappy bowel isn’t just a symptom of depression, it’s actually the root cause of it? This is what scientists now assume.
20. Tantrums can be treated in the pit of the stomach
One study found that those who took probiotics and thus had a more balanced microbiome showed less anger. Time for a natural chill pill.
21. Improving your bowels relieves ADHD
Both the use of probiotics and dietary changes have been shown to reduce symptoms, along with a variety of other natural treatment approaches. We have the overview.
22. Stress can get your digestive system running high
The gut-brain connection is not a one-way street. These worrying thoughts can also have a great impact on your bowels. The good news? You can take steps to lessen the impact.
Keep the following in mind to help you make stomach-friendly decisions.
23. Sugar isn’t always that sweet
The bad bacteria in your gut microbiome feed on sugar, and you don’t want to spoil them with too much candy. Artificial sweeteners are also on the list of ingredients to limit a happier gut.
24. It helps to limit the quarter pounders to a quarter of your diet
Meat and dairy products contribute to intestinal inflammation, which can lead to poor nutrient absorption and even the development of conditions like Crohn’s disease. Experts suggest limiting these two food groups to around 25 percent of our total diet.
25. It is good to find yourself in a pickle sometimes
Fermented products like kefir, kombucha, and kimchi are full of natural live cultures that your gut microbiome will love. Read through nine of the best fermented foods to try.
26. Your bowels get fired up because of fiber
Charging up bean-filled burritos is a surefire way of getting gas. However, it is important to eat a number of fibrous foods in moderation to maintain digestive health as our good gut bacteria feed on them. These high fiber ingredients are very easy to add to meals.
27. It helps to drink on your health
It’s not just food that is good for your gut. A variety of drinks are also available, including these five champs. Full Disclosure: It doesn’t include alcohol (sorry).
28. You have the courage to deal with the heat
Spices like turmeric have been used to aid digestion and fight inflammation for years – and we’ll take any excuse for a curry night.
That was a lot of facts for sure, so we’ll end there before we fall into the food coma. Whether you’re changing your diet, adding a little more exercise to your day, or just wanting to turn over to sleep on a different side, all of these are recipes for better gut health that your mind and body will love.
Chantelle Pattemore is a writer and editor based in London, UK. She focuses on lifestyle, health, beauty, food and fitness.