The Connection Between Gut Health and Food Allergies (An Easy Explanation)
Quick Summary of The Connection Between Gut Health and Food Allergies
1. What Is Gut Health?
2. How Does Your Gut Become Unhealthy?
3. What Does Gut Health Have To Do With Food Allergies?
4. How Do You Know If You Have Poor Gut Health?
5. How Do You Improve Your Gut Health?
Today, more people are taking their health seriously than ever before. Countless diets and exercise methods are being adhered to all over the country. Each method claims to be the most effective. One interesting thing about all this is that by looking closely at modern healthy diet-related literature, one topic consistently shows up. Gut health.
Have you heard of gut health? This topic is becoming more mainstream every day. There are shelves of books on the topic. There’s a reason for this, though. Gut health research continues to show connections to all sorts of health issues, including food allergies. In fact, many experts believe that poor gut health is THE reason so many people have food allergies today.
It’s true that there are way more people with food allergies today than in past generations. The number of children, especially, who have allergies to milk, nuts, and other common allergens have skyrocketed. A few weeks ago we published an article addressing 7 theories as to why this is happening. Though science hasn’t yet confirmed the exact cause, there’s more than enough information pointing to poor gut health as being very problematic.
So, what is the connection between gut health and food allergies? Let’s explore.
What Is Gut Health?
First of all, let’s address one quick thing.
Where Is Your Gut?
The word gut refers to your gastrointestinal tract which is your body’s food processing system. Your gut is the long, internal tube that travels from your mouth and throat down to your anus. To provide a detailed explanation of the gut, let’s use the example of food taking its journey through your body.
Food enters your body through your mouth (part of the gut) and then travels down your esophagus (also part of the gut). Next, it enters your stomach (part of the gut) and then into your small intestine (also part of the gut). The small intestine is where your food is digested and then absorbed into the bloodstream.
Once the small intestine has done its work, what remains travels through your large intestine (part of the gut). Then it reaches your colon (part of the gut) and finally to your rectum and anus (the final parts of your gut).
So now you know what is meant by the word **gut**.
Back to What Is Gut Health?
Gut health refers to the state of everything that’s going on inside there. What’s inside your gut? A whole lot of microorganisms. Over 100 trillion of them, actually, mostly made of up viruses, bacteria, and yeast. These are called microbes. Together, they make up what’s referred to as your microbiome (sometimes called gut flora). There’s a proper balance to it all that, if maintained, promotes overall health. Your physical health, mental health, immune system, mood, skin condition, and more are connected to how balanced your microbiome is.
You probably remember that not all bacteria and viruses are bad. Many of them are good, even necessary, to the maintenance of our bodies. A large portion of the really good ones – the ones our bodies need – are located in the gut.
How Does Your Gut Become Unhealthy?
Well, it’s a lot easier to have an unhealthy gut today than it was 100 years ago. That’s because of a few things. The main one we’re going to focus on is the way food is grown and processed in our modern world. Processed foods are abundant. Most of us eat some kind of processed food every day. Constant consumption of these products changes our microbiome over time.
What Is Processed Food?
Any food that’s gone through a chemical and/or mechanical protocol before you eat it. Typically, these processes are for flavor, color, texture, or preservative purposes. If it comes in a bag, box, or can, there’s a very good chance that food has been processed. Or if it has lots and lots of ingredients shown on the label, it’s definitely processed. This is what really impacts the connection between gut health and food allergies. We’ll get to that soon.
How Do Processed Foods Change Our Microbiome?
When foods are synthesized in laboratories, they’re usually stripped of almost all of their natural vitamins, nutrients, and fiber. This is replaced with lots of salt, sugar, fat, and other inorganic additives. The food may taste better and last longer in your pantry, but it’s been altered into something mostly unnatural.
Remember when we mentioned microbes? Well, microbes line the inside of our entire gut, especially the intestines and colon. The more regularly we eat processed foods, the more the microbes in our gut either deteriorate or change. This alters the natural balance of our microbiome. Sugars and emulsifiers inside these foods impair our microbes so they can’t flourish.
All the things our microbiome aid our bodies with become compromised to some degree. Weaker immune system, inefficient metabolism, faster aging – you get the idea. Generally, it results in more disease and more inflammation.
Processed Food Isn’t The Only Cause Of Bad Gut Health
In an attempt to be thorough, remember that lots of things negatively affect our gut health. Things like not getting enough sleep, being constantly stressed, and all the antibiotics and pills we take. Similar to processed foods, these modern medications we ingest all the time are made in a lab. Many of them have negative side effects on our health, particularly our gut. Based on new research, regular antibiotic use appears to be one of the biggest culprits.
Take a look at our article titled Why Is There An Increase In Food Allergies (7 Theories). Almost everything described in this post also affects our gut health.
What Does Gut Health Have To Do With Food Allergies?
Okay, now to the part that you’ve been wondering about. What’s the relationship between gut health and food allergies?
As we’ve already explained, the more we consume unnatural food, the more imbalanced our microbiome becomes. To a very real degree, this compromises our immune systems. We then become predisposed to develop all kinds of health issues, including food allergies.
Another role-player is the modern standard diet (along with the underlying food supply) in Western society, particularly in the United States. More infants and toddlers are developing food allergies than ever before. Experts are pointing to the processed food-filled diet of our population as a major cause. In many cases, these children are born with their immune systems already partially compromised. This makes them more susceptible to food allergies.
How Do You Know If You Have Poor Gut Health?
If you know you’re not a healthy eater, you can safely assume your gut is not healthy. There are some definite signs of poor gut health that you can easily recognize. Some of them include frequent upset stomach, unintentional weight changes, constant fatigue, trouble sleeping, skin irritation, and autoimmune disorders. And of course food allergies and food intolerances.
Gut Disorders Increase The Probability of Developing Food Allergies
If you have one or more of the following gut-related conditions, studies show that you are more likely to develop food allergies. More proof that gut health and food allergies definitely have a connection.
Ulcerative colitis / Threadworms / Stomach ulcer / Gastroenteritis / Anal fissure / Stomach cancer / Pancreatic cancer / Esophagus cancer / Liver cancer / Colon cancer / Pyloric stenosis / Hemorrhoids / Pancreatitis / Barrett’s oesophagus / Acid reflux / Hiatus hernia / Dyspepsia / Irritable bowel syndrome / Gallstones / Constipation / Duodenal ulcer / Rectal bleeding / Diverticula / Itchy bottom / Mesenteric adenitis / Cystic fibrosis / Hernia / Crohn’s disease / Helicobacter pylori / Coeliac disease / Cholecystitis
How Do You Improve Your Gut Health?
Change your diet. This is obvious but it’s the most effective way to increase your gut’s health. Be deliberate about what you eat. We know this is easier said than done. But make a real effort and your body will thank you by improving every area of your life.
Lower your stress level. Slow your life down. Meditate. Whatever you need to do to eliminate the major stresses of your life, do it.
Make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Studies have shown that lack of sleep has very negative effects on gut health. You need prioritize 7-8 hours of sleep as you would prioritize not starving yourself. It’s that important to your health.
Eat slowly. In order for the nutrients inside food to be fully absorbed, it needs to be thoroughly chewed first. Don’t rush your meals. Actually chew your food.
Stay hydrated. A good balance of bacteria in your gut is highly dependent on water. Water also helps your intestine’s mucosal lining to stay moisturized. If you’re drinking more soda than water on a daily basis, you can almost guarantee an unhealthy gut.
Take a prebiotic or probiotic. A probiotic is a live, helpful bacteria and a prebiotic is food for those probiotics. These come in supplement form which makes consuming them convenient. Make sure to consult your doctor first before taking these supplements. There are also many foods that contain pre and probiotics.
What Foods Are Good For The Gut?
Eat foods that are high in fiber. For example, leaks, asparagus, berries, bananas, oats, peas, beans, and legumes.
Buy and eat garlic and onions. They have properties that are known to have a positive effect on the immune system. Particularly parts of the immune system that are gut-related.
Are you familiar with fermented foods? You should eat more of them. Kefir, miso, tempeh, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi. They are highly effective sources of probiotics and great for gut health.
The development and severity of your food allergies are largely contingent on how healthy your gut is. If you have food allergies, one of the first things to do is to check your diet. Poor gut health can be more than a catalyst for developing food allergies. It can also be the cause of their longevity. Many people with food allergies have seen drastic decreases in their symptoms as a result of being conscious of their gut health.
There is A LOT of information online about how gut health and food allergies are related. Search the web for info if this issue is striking a chord. And like we said, there are shelves of literature on gut health. There is no shortage of further information out there.
The Connection Between Gut Health and Food Allergies (An Easy Explanation)
Safe Sweets is a US-based company that offers allergy-free and allergy-friendly chocolates. Many of the products offered by Safe Sweets have zero allergic ingredients, which means that customers with a history of food allergy can buy its products without hesitation. And because their facility is 100% nut-free and dairy-free, there is no chance of cross-contamination from shared equipment, utensils, or the like. If you are looking for an allergy-free or allergy-friendly chocolate option for you or your children, visit www.safesweets.com today for an amazing line of delicious, allergy-safe products.