10 facts you probably didn’t know about gut health:
1.We are made up of more bacteria than human cells
And the majority of bacteria live in our gut. In fact, some scientists believe that our human cells are outnumbered by bacteria 10 to 1 – perhaps that means we’re about 10% human!
2. The gut goes all the way from your mouth to your bum
And includes the esophagus, stomach and the small and large intestines. Food starts getting digested in the mouth and some types of fibre help it move through the gut picking up toxins and waste products along the way – a bit like a scrubbing brush for your insides
3. If you spread your gut out flat
It would cover the area of an entire tennis court. Millions of circular folds compact it down so that it can fit in your body
4. There are more bacteria
Living in your gut than there are people on earth – some scientists believe that the average adult has about 100 trillion bacteria living in them!
5. The weight of your gut
Bacteria in your gut can weigh up to 2kg in total – that’s how much 100 trillion bacteria weighs!
6. The good bacteria in the gut feed off fibre
They feed off ‘prebiotic fibre’, using it to produce short chain fatty acids that can have a number of health benefits.
7. The gut has its own independent nervous system which is why some call it the ‘second brain’
The Central Nervous System and the gut are made up of the same types of tissues. These control an enormous network of hormones, electrical impulses and other pathways that communicate with our brain.
8. Serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in your brain and in your gut
Emerging research suggests that maintaining good gut health with a balance of good bacteria has the potential to contribute to improved mood, attitude and outlook on life. Further research is being undertaken in this area.
9. The gut connects with the largest population of immune cells in the body
And 70% of the immune tissue is found there – no wonder it’s important to take care of our gut health.
10. Your gut bacteria help your body with nutrient absorption
So best to keep them happy. As well as eating fibre, another way to ensure you’ve got a beautiful and diverse colony of good bacteria is to consume fermented foods and drinks that actually introduce more good bacteria into your gut.