Ramadan is a time for reflection, gratitude, and self-discipline. However, it can also be a time when people experience digestive issues due to changes in eating habits and meal times. Gut health is a vital component of our overall well-being, and it's essential to pay attention to the health of our digestive system during this time. In this blog post, we'll cover some facts and myths surrounding gut health.
The Facts on Gut Health
1. Stomach/ gut distress can cause or be the product of anxiety
TRUE - There is a strong connection between our gut and brain. The gut-brain axis is a communication network that connects the central nervous system to the enteric nervous system in our gut. Research has shown that gastrointestinal issues can lead to anxiety and vice versa.
2. A high-fiber diet helps maintain bowel health
TRUE - Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. It helps to keep our bowel movements regular, and it feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut. High-fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
3. Your liver and kidneys work daily to cleanse your system
TRUE - The liver and kidneys play a crucial role in filtering toxins and waste products from our bodies. They work together to maintain our internal balance, and it's important to keep them healthy by staying hydrated and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
4. Repeated colon cleanses & detox may cause diarrhea
TRUE - Colon cleanses and detoxes have become popular in recent years, but they may not be as beneficial as people think. Repeated colon cleanses and detoxes can disrupt the balance of bacteria in our gut, leading to diarrhea, cramps, and other digestive issues.
5. There are bacteria, fungi, & viruses, that live in our digestive tracts
TRUE - Our gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. These microorganisms play a crucial role in our overall health by aiding digestion, maintaining our immune system, and producing essential vitamins.
6. Taking probiotics can help with gut health
TRUE - Probiotics are live microorganisms that provide health benefits when consumed in adequate amounts. They can help to restore the balance of bacteria in our gut, improve digestion, and boost our immune system. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, as well as in supplement form.
7. Consuming some water with a meal can help with digestion
TRUE - Drinking water with meals can help to soften food and aid in digestion. However, it's important not to overdo it, as drinking too much water can dilute stomach acid and impair digestion.
The Myth of Gut Health
1. You have to “cut out” food groups to manage gut health.
FALSE - Cutting out entire food groups is not necessary for good gut health! While some foods can cause digestive issues for certain people, it's important to focus on a balanced and varied diet that includes a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This will help ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs to function properly.
2. Apple cider vinegar is a cure for digestive problems.
FALSE - Apple cider vinegar has gained popularity over the years as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments, including digestive problems. While there is some evidence to suggest that apple cider vinegar may help with certain digestive issues, such as acid reflux, it's not a cure-all for gut health. In fact, consuming too much apple cider vinegar can actually cause digestive issues, which can cause nausea and stomach pain. It's important to talk to your doctor before trying any new remedies or supplements.
3. You have to poop every day!
FALSE - While regular bowel movements are important for gut health, there is no set number of times you should poop per day. Everyone's bowel habits are different, and what's normal for one person may not be normal for another. Having bowel movements anywhere between three times a day to three times a week is considered normal.
4. Probiotic supplements can “fix” your gut.
FALSE - Probiotic supplements have gained popularity in recent years as a way to improve gut health. While there is some evidence to suggest that probiotics can help with certain digestive issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, they are not a cure-all for gut health. Additionally, not all probiotics are created equal, and it's important to talk to your doctor before trying any new supplements.
5. Your stomach is the only part digesting food.
FALSE - While the stomach plays a crucial role in digesting food, it's not the only part of the digestive system. Digestion begins in the mouth, where enzymes in saliva begin to break down food. From there, food moves through the esophagus and into the stomach, where it is further broken down by stomach acid and enzymes. The small intestine is where most of the nutrients from food are absorbed, and the large intestine is where waste products are eliminated.
6. Chewing gum will sit in your stomach for 7 years.
FALSE - Breath easy, this is a myth! While gum is not digested in the same way as food, it does not stay in the stomach for seven years. Instead, it passes through the digestive system and is eliminated in the same way as other waste products.
7. You can only fix gut problems with medicine.
FALSE - While medication can be helpful for certain gut problems, such as acid reflux or inflammatory bowel disease, it's not the only way to improve gut health. Lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced and varied diet, staying hydrated, getting regular exercise, and managing stress, can all help improve gut health.
Maintaining a healthy gut involves a variety of factors, including a balanced and varied diet, regular exercise, good sleep habits, and stress management. If you have concerns about your gut health, talk to your doctor.
Try our online quiz on Instagram!
Now that you've learned the truth behind common myths about gut health, put your knowledge to the test by trying our Instagram quiz filter. It's a fun way to see how much you've learned and to share your newfound knowledge with your friends and family. Don't forget to use the hashtags #dafacts and #guthealth, and tag @doctoranywhere.my to spread awareness and promote good gut health.