5 Gut Health Myths
Gut health is garnering a lot of attention, as research continues to show its importance to overall health. Yet, the flood of information online about improving digestive health can make it hard to separate fact from fiction. In this video, MDVIP Chief Medical Officer Dr. Andrea Klemes and award-winning registered dietitian Layne Lieberman dispel five common myths about gut health.
Hi, I’m Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer at MDVIP.
And I’m Layne Lieberman, registered dietitian and culinary nutritionist.
And we’re going to dispel some of the most common myths about gut health.
Myth #1: Gut health is only about digestive health.
Gut health isn’t just about good digestion, it affects the entire body, from your heart to your brain and even your skin.
Our gut is made up of trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome influences cardiovascular health by affecting cholesterol levels, blood pressure and inflammation in the body.
Microorganisms in the gut also interact with the nervous system and influence the gut-brain connection. This impacts our mental health, from depression and anxiety to cognitive function and decline.
There is also a relationship between gut health and our skin. When our digestive balance is off, the skin can become irritated, causing breakouts, skin sensitivity, redness and signs of aging
Myth #2: Supplements are the best source of probiotics.
Probiotics are live microorganisms or “good bacteria” that have beneficial health effects when consumed in adequate amounts. But the best source of probiotics is the food we eat.
Probiotics are found in many cultured and fermented foods, which contain live bacteria.
Yogurt made with live and active cultures is considered the MVP of probiotic foods. Other good options include cultured cottage cheese and labneh, raw sauerkraut, raw kimchi, miso paste, and tempeh.
Kefir, a type of fermented milk, which in addition to being good for your gut, can help improve bone health and protect against infections. And a good dairy-free option is Kombucha, a probiotic-rich beverage made from black or green tea.
Myth #3: You should have a bowel movement every day.
While many people have one or more bowel movements a day, the reality is that poop patterns vary from person to person. It’s considered normal to have a bowel movement anywhere from three times a week to three times a day. If you have fewer than three bowel movement per week, you may be constipated. Changing your diet including increasing fiber intake and drinking more water can soften your stool and help it pass easier.
If you’re pooping more than three times a day, you may have diarrhea. Most cases of diarrhea are temporary, and often the result of food or an intestinal bug.
Myth #4: Grains are bad for your gut.
The truth is that whole grains support healthy digestion, from oatmeal and brown rice to whole grain breads and even whole-wheat pasta. They are rich in fiber which adds bulk to our poop, prevents constipation and helps promote good gut bacteria. Refined grains, on the other hand, are simple carbs like white bread and white rice that are stripped of their fiber, vitamins and other nutrients.
Whole grains contain a variety of nutrients, fiber and the complex carbohydrates that our bodies need for energy. They tend to raise blood sugar more slowly and keep you feeling satiated. They can help lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Myth #5: It's good to do a detox or cleanse at least once a year.
The fact is our body is designed to detoxify itself!
Every day, we detox naturally through our liver, kidneys, lungs, skin, digestive and lymphatic systems. They work overtime to eliminate waste products and harmful substances.
In fact, many so-called ‘detox’ cleanses are not only unnecessary but can be harmful to your health. From complete fasting and juice-only regimens, to using herbs, supplements or enemas, cleanses can lead to bloating, stomach pain, infection and repeated cleanses can cause diarrhea, depleting your gut microbiome of good bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the best way to support your body’s natural detoxification processes.