Gut week is a great opportunity to raise public awareness about digestive health.
How well do you know your gut?
The digestive system (or ‘gut’) is responsible for processing the food we eat, so that essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals can be absorbed, providing vital fuel for our body. Most of the time it works remarkably well considering the variety of foods that we put into it – but if, for example, we are stressed; if we eat too much of any component of our diet, then it may ‘complain’ and we develop gut symptoms. And just occasionally, these symptoms can be the sign of a medical disease involving the gut. So understanding how the digestive system works and how to look after it is important.
Use your senses to get to know your gut better!
- Rumbling in the gut (‘borborygmi’) could be a sign you are hungry, as the gut is contracting and moving its contents on. It could also be a sign of emotion.
- Take a good look at your stools. Sloppy, loose and pale stools could indicate food is moving through the gut too quickly, while darker stools which are hard to pass could indicate a hold-up in the gut.
- Smell your stools. The smell of the stool relates to what has been eaten and the composition of your bacterial flora.
- A bad taste in the mouth could be linked to a number of issues, including; constipation, loosely fitted crowns and gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissue). A sour taste may be linked to acid reflux, where regurgitated stomach acid enters the mouth. Metallic tastes in the mouth may occur in women at the start of pregnancy, individual taking antibiotics, or those with a zinc or vitamin B12 deficiency.
- How does it feel? Eating too much of the wrong foods could lead to abdominal pain and cramping. Excess fruit, fat or coffee may cause cramping.
We are encouraging everyone to get behind the Gut Week campaign. So why not visit the gut week section of the website and get to know your gut better.