You know when I realized my body was finally healthy?
When I could actually relieve myself properly in the restroom.
Oops… are we not on that level yet?
But seriously, I never knew how irregular I was until I became regular.
(I like to think I’m a healthy person, but apparently, I was not as healthy as I thought I was.)
This was only ONE of the signs I should have recognized to realize how desperately my body was craving a reset.
So for your sake, I’m going to break down all the poor gut health signs for you – making this easy – peezy, lemon detoxing squeezy.
And then hit you up with some remarkably simple solutions to restore gut health.
Let’s jump to it.
What is Gut Health and Why Do We Care?
To be frank, your gut health matters because YOU matter.
And our gut – a fancy term to describe the part of your digestive tract consisting of your stomach, small intestine, and large intestine – regulates SO many of our body’s functions.
For a quick snapshot, here’s a list of everything your gut regulates in the body:
- Healthy Digestion
- Weight Management (and weight loss)
- Skin Health
- Nutrient Absorption
- Heart Health and Cholesterol Levels
- Brain Clarity and Mental Health
- Hunger and Appetite
- Bloating and Inflammation
- Chronic Illness
So, you can see how this one simple thing is by far THE one thing you want on your side.
And by restoring your gut health, your body begins to reap incredible benefits from each of the bulleted categories above.
Alright – now that we’ve dipped our toe in the water of gut health, let’s dive in to be able to recognize the signs your body could be sending you!
Poor Gut Health Signs (That Should Not Go Ignored)
➤ 1. Unintentional Weight Changes
Are you tired of the hamster wheel of weight loss and weight gain?
(Goodness, I was…)
It’s like as soon as you look down at the scale and begin to celebrate your wins, the number begins to creep back up.
You’re tired of munching on grass just to be repetitively disappointed.
And here’s the deal – you’ll stay racing this wheel for life if you don’t hop off and restore your gut health.
This is one of the poor gut health signs that would have large flashing lights around it if it could to identify it.
But by restoring your gut health, your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the storage of fat quickly regulates.
Your metabolic rates drastically increase (allowing you to break down and digest your foods with ease), and your body experiences the reboot it needs to operate most efficiently.
Because when our gut is healthy, our microbiome is operating at maximum productivity.
But why? Why does our gut play such a major role?
I had always believed that to lose weight, you need two things – diet and exercise.
But when I discovered how central the gut is to the rest of the body, I realized that I was focusing on the wrong factors all along.
(Don’t get me wrong – a healthy diet and consistent exercise will absolutely support weight loss, but they essentially play supporting rolls when it comes to the star of the show – our gut.)
Here’s the deal. Your body really isn’t trying to work against you by storing fat (even though it sure does feel like it) but it’s doing what was needed back in the days when cavemen roamed the earth and it was totally acceptable to walk around nude.
Back then, we didn’t have a fridge or pantry that stored food for us. People were hunters and gatherers that had no validation when their next meal was going to be.
So, the body created a fat reservoir. Think of it as an “in case of emergency” stash.
But because we live in the 21st century, where fridges come in multiple finishes, colors, and sizes – we must program our body to operate differently.
This way, we use food as our primary fuel source, allowing us to feel full and energized for the longevity it takes us until we have our next snack or meal. No fat reservoir needed.
It may sound complex – but feel relieved knowing that this is something your body does completely on its own when we improve our digestive health.
I was able to personally lose 15 pounds without dieting by simply addressing my gut health.
➤ 2. Acne and Skin Conditions
If you have stubborn acne that is failing to respond to any treatments (like non-toxic skincare, teas, hormone treatments, etc.) then your gut health is most likely to blame.
Needless to say, this poor gut health sign is terribly frustrating.
Instead of spending hours standing in front of the mirror and training to be a pimple popping master, you can simply regulate your gut health.
Restoring gut health drastically improves the condition of your skin because of two primary reasons – hormonal balances and detoxification.
The digestive tract regulates the balance of hormones, which as women – is crucial. One function of hormones is the secretion of sebum, or the oil in your skin.
When this is in check, you prevent your skin from being too oily, and becoming a growing ground for acne.
Detoxification is ridding the body of toxins and is known as a “natural flush.”
If our digestive tract is healthy and able to efficiently rid our bodies of these toxins, they then do not come through the largest organ and next possible outlet – our skin.
➤ 3. Inflammation and Bloating
Would you relate to me if I confessed that my body has felt “puffy?”
I often mistook my inflamed face for baby fat or pudge when, in fact, it was nothing more than inflammation derived from my poor gut health.
Seriously – I was always embarrassed of my chipmunked cheeks until I realized – they were not genetic. They were due to intolerances and a direct result of my failing gut health.
I’m going to let you in on a HUGE secret.
Ready for it? (Yeah I know you are, you’re awesome like that…)
Poor gut health is a direct result from the malnourished, modern western diet.
We overeat foods that are processed (some that we even genuinely believe are good for us thanks to schemey marketing techniques) and our bodies are intelligent enough to be able to decipher proper nutrition from the foods that make up dinner plates today.
And guess what?
It’s NOT your fault!
Our food has become industrialized because of the food INDUSTRY.
Farm to table has now become farm to factory to table.
It reminds me of the interception that was made during my family’s annual Turkey Bowl game on Thanksgiving.
Someone unexpectedly jumping in the middle and completely changing the course of the game.
But that’s how it is – and now, our digestive systems are beginning to REJECT this food.
Now let me take you down a sidetrack for a moment (hang with me, I promise it’ll be worth it).
Do you remember when you were a little kid and fell, scraping your knee?
Maybe you ran inside to get Band-Aids with some Neosporin – or perhaps you followed the saying “throw some dirt on it!”
Either way, you can probably recall your knee becoming red and puffy.
This was because when you fell, some particles got into your skin, and your body’s defense was to become inflamed.
(Here’s where I bring you back home…)
Our digestive systems have the exact same response when the products that the food industry are producing become a staple in our diets. The food is barely recognizable, and after a while, your body says, “this does not belong here” and fights back (hence – the inflammation or “puffy” feeling).
Bloating is also another common side effect, since these foods are often difficult for our bodies to break down and digest, so gas and pressure are created in the stomach, often expanding the course for the food to pass through.
Being bloated and inflamed can be embarrassing, uncomfortable, and downright tiring.
➤ 4. Low Energy and Exhaustion
Speaking of tiring, if you’re relying on caffeinated beverages to carry you through the day, you’re not alone.
I remember at one point of my life, I would go through a fast food drive through every day to pick up a large iced coffee with hazelnut creamer (holy added sugar…).
I had thought it was normal. Didn’t everyone run on caffeine and sugar?
Ehh. Not efficiently, at least…
See, our food is our energy source for our bodies. But when our gut is unhealthy, we are unable to properly regulate the absorption of our nutrients from our foods.
These micronutrients skyrocket energy levels and provide us with the proper fuel to get through our days.
I went from experiencing headaches, inflammation, and having a reliance on these caffeinated beverages to not even having a single cup of coffee or sip of soda each day – all by getting to the core of the problem.
➤ 5. Brain Fog and Difficulty Concentrating
Experiencing brain fog and having trouble concentrating can be incredibly frustrating.
You can feel as though the thought “is RIGHT there” but it just cannot become clear or apparent.
And due to low energy levels from an unhealthy gut, your body is unable to operate efficiently, meaning that your tank is running on empty.
Sure, you might be able to drive for a bit.
But can you go cruising or joy riding?
Not without stopping to fill up your tank first – aka, not without first restoring your digestive health.
➤ 6. Nausea, Upset Stomach, or Gas
Your body will do everything in its power to see you succeed.
You’re basically your biggest cheerleader if you think about it – at least your body is.
See, when we experience poor digestive health and eat a meal, all the energy in our bodies run to our stomachs to process this food.
It’s like the whole team coming together to tackle the problem at hand.
But the side effect of this motion is often an upset stomach, nausea, increased production of gas, and digestive distress.
Because no matter how hard that team works, they are not being provided with the proper tools to dismiss the problem.
So, they end up putting a band-aid over it and calling it a day.
And in the meantime, you’re left with that low energy we talked about, along with a long slew of side effects all associated with digestive discomfort.
➤ 7. Decreased Mental Health
When I discuss the term “mental health” it’s important to note the significant connotation associated. This term should not be used lightly, or simply tossed around.
Because experiencing anxiety and depression is no joke.
This poor gut health sign (anxiety) is something I had personally lived with for most of my life – peaking in college with a few panic attacks to top things off.
This was until I learned how to be genuinely healthy – again, starting with my gut health.
Because our gut produces 90 percent of the body’s serotonin (the “happiness” hormone) along with countless other hormones, such as dopamine (the “feel good” hormone).
So if we create a well oiled machine, we are then able to produce a healthy dose of these chemical balances.
➤ 8. Immunity and Sickness
Are you someone who seems to get sick ALL. THE. TIME?
This could very likely be because 70 percent of the body’s immune cells are housed in the gut.
Think of this like creating a healthy, happy home for them to grow up in. If they are nurtured and cared for, they develop well and efficiently.
So again, various problems – all fixed by the same, simple solution.
But what I wanted to provide you with was a simple list to evaluate all the signs and signals your body may be sending to you.
Going through the following, take a minute and think if you experience any…
Additional Poor Gut Health Signs:
☐ Experience stress in your daily life
☐ Have trouble sleeping
☐ Get sick often
☐ Crave sugar regularly
☐ Have food allergies, intolerances, or sensitivities
☐ Experience moodiness
☐ Often feel anxious and/or depressed
☐ Experience brain fog
☐ Eat a diet high in processed foods
☐ Cannot seem to lose weight (no matter how hard you try)
☐ Struggle with having and/or maintaining high energy levels
☐ Experience oily skin or any form of skin condition
☐ Rely on coffee or caffeinated beverages to keep you energized
☐ Often feel tired and fatigued
☐ Experience muscle pain
☐ Experience joint pain
☐ Have recurring headaches
☐ Suffer from leaky gut
☐ Bloat after eating meals
☐ Feel inflamed (or “puffy”)
☐ Have sinus problems
☐ Struggle with gas (too much or not a healthy amount)
☐ Experience heartburn
☐ Suffer from acid reflux
☐ Have chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, or bloating
☐ Suffer from eczema
☐ Experience acne
☐ Diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or experience similar symptoms
☐ Often experience canker sores (aka “cold sores”)
☐ Have the appearance of dark circles beneath your eyes
☐ Easily retain water weight
☐ Experience bad breath
☐ Have a sensitive stomach
☐ Just feel plain “BLEH!” knowing you deserve better (hint: YOU DO!)
So now that we’ve identified the warning signs our body may be sending to up, we want to see that light at the end of the tunnel.
7 Ways to Restore Gut Health
1. Consume healthy, wholesome, real ingredients
Foods can either hurt or heal our digestive tract.
And frankly, it’s up to us and what we decide to eat for how our bodies will feel.
So what I emphasize is filling your diets with anti-inflammatory foods.
These are real ingredients that the digestive system is easily able to identity as food – because guess what?
That’s ALL it is!
No processing, hybridizing, or manufacturing.
Just real food made from fresh ingredients to create simple meals and healthy lifestyles.
2. Stay Hydrated
Water is incredibly important since keeps your body hydrated, energized, and detoxed.
A detox is nothing more than a “natural flush” but it essentially “flushes” the waste and inflammatory toxins from your system – keeping you feeling fresh and shooting your energy levels through the roof.
3. Maximize Nutrient Absorption
The primary job of the small intestine is to absorb nutrients from our foods; however, when our gut is unhealthy, we are unable to properly do this.
This means that even though you could be eating healthy foods, your body is not able to uptake the nutrients, and therefore, your energy levels will remain low.
So what’s a great life hack is to incorporate superfood powders into your daily routine.
The key is in the powder.
These powders are composed of foods that are rich in anti-oxidants and countless health benefits, but the most important thing is this – since they’re a powder, they absorb directly into your blood stream and do not even have to wait to be processed through the digestive tract.
If you’re interested, I personally love and adore Your Super.
I’ve found I get the most bang for my buck, and trust me, I’m never one to throw money at supplements. I did that for too many years trying to find solutions that ACTUALLY work.
But Your Super is the easiest way to maximize energy levels while also working to repair digestive health.
Win – Win.
To get 15% off your first order, use the key “HAPPYNESSISKEY” at checkout. You know I got your back.
4. Choose the Right Probiotic for You
Selecting a probiotic can be tricky because you never want to waste your money or your time.
But probiotics can be a great way to support your digestive health since they are beneficial strains of healthy bacteria that are able to get into your gut and work their magic.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a probiotic:
- You want LIVE strains of bacteria (many probiotics have “dead” strains, which when added to your digestive system do absolutely nothing. You need live strains that can continue to flourish your digestive tract with incredible benefits and more beneficial bacteria)
- Expect to pay anywhere from $25-$60/month for a good probiotic
- Read the reviews – it can be really helpful in deciding if the probiotic is right for you.
- Probiotics are measured in CFUs (colony forming units)
- The probiotic should have at least 10 Billion CFUs – less strains will simply not be as potent and beneficial (again, you want LIVE strains)
- Become familiar with the nutrition label – it tells you everything you need!
5. Reduce Stress Levels
This one was almost laughable to me for years – up until the time when I realized how much reducing my stress helped both my mind and body.
You know you. What really relaxes you?
Don’t contort yourself into a pretzel if it doesn’t bring you Zen. Or do if it does.
I know that I relieve my bloating and digestive distress with this short ten minute free Youtube video: Yoga with Sarah Beth
Walking, meditating, spending less time on social media, enjoying time with loved ones… all great ideas!
So think about it… what works for you?
6. Get Enough Rest
When we sleep, our body restores itself. Therefore, taking the time to relax our mind and body before bed helps us to achieve a deeper, more restful sleep.
I know I’ve been bad in the past about being on my phone too much before bed, and even the night-time mode keeps my brain awake as I’m scrolling through social media feeds and taking in that much content.
So, what I try to do is to make a habit of no phones in bed.
Sure, it can be hard.
But I sleep so much better and wake up feeling more refreshed – because that is what sleep is designed for when it comes to our bodies.
7. Perform Gentle Exercises
See, most people think that pushing the body to it’s greatest limit creates the most effective workout.
But during this time, you want to be gentle and forgiving towards your body.
This means doing simple exercises like yoga, pilates, or walking. You don’t have to push your body to the max when you are healing yourself.
So remember patience and forgiveness in the meantime.
You deserve it – you really do!
Take With You When You Go...
Your body communicates to you and it’s up to us to recognize these signs and signals.
If we treat the symptom, it will likely return. But if you treat the problem – you fix the issue.
This is the great thing about your gut health. I felt that discovering this central command center for the body was like discovering one of life’s greatest hacks.
By simply restoring ONE aspect of your body, you THRIVE in so many various fashions.
If you’re interested, I’ve created a challenge to help you to restore your gut health in 21 Days.
Be sure to check out Happyness Is Key’s 21 Day Gut Health Challenge HERE!