What Is a GI Tract?
Move over ashwagandha, activated charcoal, and jade rollers; there’s a new wellness trend in town: Gut health.
Yup, it’s true; thanks to a renewed focus on the immune system in recent years as well as a slew of incredible scientific discoveries, the gut has officially made its way into the spotlight — and we’re totally here for it.
From energy production and hormone balance to skin health and emotional health, a happy GI tract is key for overall well-being — but what exactly is the GI tract, and how does it work? We’ll tell you. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the digestive system.
So, What Exactly Is the GI Tract?
The GI tract (AKA, gastrointestinal tract) is the passageway food takes from the mouth through the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine before exiting via the rectum. Your small intestine has three main components: the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum, and it is a long, muscular tube.
Also known as the “gut” and digestive tract, the body’s gastrointestinal system is not only responsible for the entry and exit of food, beverages, and nutrients, but the GI tract also plays a major role in many essential functions, including:
- Blood flow
- Nerve signaling
- Hormone control
- Nutrient absorption
- Cognitive function
- Metabolic reactions
- Energy production
- Cell repair
As you can see, a healthy gut has many complex functions, but in simple terms, your GI tract digests the foods you eat and supplies the nutrients to the rest of your organs. It also transports waste products through the large intestine, where they are then excreted as solid matter (*ahem* poop).
Why Is Gut Health So Important?
In short, everything that you consume is ultimately broken down in your gut into a simple form that can enter the bloodstream and be delivered as nutrients throughout the body. This, however, is only possible with a healthy gut.
You see, if your gut isn’t healthy and absorption is poor, you may end up with a deficiency of essential minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. This can then open pandora’s box to a number of health issues with symptoms that range from tolerable to severe.
What Are the Symptoms of Poor Gut Health?
Did you know that your GI tract is full of microbes — both good and bad — namely bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes? Collectively known as your gut microbiome or gut flora, these itty-bitty organisms play a big part in digestive processes and brain function and immunity.
In a healthy gut, the “good” bacteria thrive and help to detect harmful pathogens to keep illness at bay and inflammation in check. In an unhealthy gut where “bad” bacteria flourish, on the other hand, the gut microbiome becomes imbalanced or disrupted — this is called dysbiosis.
Think your gut health might be lacking? Some of the signs and symptoms to watch for include:
- You have a sour stomach, stomach ulcers, or heartburn and reflux
- You feel exhausted
- You’re having trouble sleeping
- You’re intolerant to some foods or have bloating
- You have intense food cravings, especially sugar
- You’re dealing with skin flares
- You get migraines
- You’ve been especially moody
- You’re having a flare-up of leaky gut, Crohn’s disease, or irritable bowel syndrome
If you experience any symptoms outside of your norm, be sure to check in with your doctor.
Red flag symptoms include seeing blood in your feces, severe abdominal pain, fever, weight loss, and difficulty swallowing.
Any Tips To Promote Gut Health?
As a matter of fact, we have quite a few! For better digestive health, follow these simple tips listed below:
Tip #1: Load up on fermented foods that are full of beneficial bacteria.
Feeling snackish? Soothe your gut and your cravings with probiotic-rich foods, like sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and kimchi.
Tip #2: Consider a probiotic supplement
If your diet is lacking, you may want to consider taking a daily probiotic supplement — like Gut Feelings Probiotics. This gut-lovin’ formula contains three billion CFUs of probiotic strains to promote gut diversity and balance.*
Tip #3: Say NO to artificial sweeteners
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but those artificial sweeteners that you use in lieu of real sugar just might be doing more harm than good. According to recent research, artificial sugar can potentially turn healthy gut bacteria into harmful microbes that may lead to serious health issues.
Tip #4: Steer clear of processed foods
Foods that are highly processed often contain large amounts of refined carbohydrates, artificial ingredients, and added sugars — all of which can wreak havoc on the gut.
In addition to processed foods, steer clear of:
- Spicy foods
- Fried foods
- Acidic foods
- Fatty foods
These foods can increase your levels of gastric acid, which may contribute to reflux.
Tip #5: Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of H2O to support your GI tract and keep things running smoothly. Dehydration can lead to many stomach woes, including constipation, cramps, and abdominal pain. So drink up, buttercup!
So, what is a GI tract, you ask?
Simply put, the GI tract — or digestive tract — is a long twisting tube that begins at the mouth and ends at the anus. You have both an upper GI tract and a lower GI tract. In between are the esophagus, stomach, and bowels (AKA, the small and large intestines). Your digestive system’s primary role is to break down digested food and fluids into much smaller nutrients that the body can easily absorb, which are then used to nourish cells and provide energy. Digestion is mainly thanks to digestive enzymes and proteins.
Needless to say, your GI tract is pretty important!
To support your gut, opt for nutritious whole foods and consider taking a daily probiotic supplement — like Gut Feelings Probiotics. Our innovative prebiotic and probiotic formula works to support healthy gut function and digestion. To balance, optimize, and support a calm GI tract, simply take one capsule a day.* Yup, it’s that easy.
At Love Wellness, we focus on women’s personal care guided by doctors. We specialize in developing female-friendly solutions curated for personal hygiene, sexual, gut, and vaginal health.
Whether you’re on a mission to heal your body naturally or simply searching for self-care that’s body-positive and backed by experts, you can always count on us to provide you with clean products that are second to none.
Keeping Your Gut in Check | NIH News in Health
Artificial sweeteners can turn healthy gut bacteria into pathogens | BBC Science Focus Magazine
Digestive System: Function, Organs & Anatomy | Cleveland Clinic
Dysbiosis: from fiction to function | American Journal of Physioloigy
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