Digestive health isn't just about processing food and regulating your bowel movements—it also forms an important part of your mood and immune function.
So, what can you do to improve your gut health, and what does a healthy gut mean?
Keep reading as we deep dive into your gut health, how to maintain it, and the best mushrooms for gut health. At Mushroom Revival, we help people take control of their health with natural supplements—check out our mushroom blends and add them to your wellness routine!
What is the Gut Microbiome?
The gut microbiome is your gut's various bacteria, archaea, fungi, and viruses. These microorganisms play an important role in helping your body defend itself against illness, break down food, and maintain energy levels.
Your gut microbiome, or flora, is composed of benign and potentially harmful bacteria. All microorganisms living in your gut are balanced in a symbiotic relationship. An imbalance of healthy and harmful bacteria in the gut can lead to poor gut health and digestive complications.
Are Gut and Mental Health Connected?
Some gut health conditions are associated with mental health conditions like anxiety and depression. If you have IBS, for instance, your body may be stressed due to diarrhea, inflammation, and loss of appetite.
This, in turn, can lower your mood by decreasing your energy levels and disturbing your body's natural regulatory functions. If you maintain a healthy gut, you can support your mental health and promote better mood regulation.
Why is it Crucial to Maintain a Good Gut Microbiome?
Let's look at some of the benefits you'll gain from maintaining a healthy gut microbiota.
Improve Your Digestion
Your gut plays an important role in your digestion, allowing you to process the food you eat and absorb valuable nutrients. When your gut is operating at its best, your body will absorb valuable nutrients more effectively, and you will experience more pleasant bowel movements. And who doesn't want regular and pleasant bowel movements?
Support Your Heart Health
There are strong links between gut health and cardiovascular health. If your gut bacteria is imbalanced, you’ll have an increased risk of developing heart conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
When you look after your gut, you can ensure your cardiovascular health is supported. Cardiovascular health is important for athletic performance, stress management, and feelings of general well-being.
Support Cognitive Function
Your gut is connected to your brain by a boundless series of nerves, including the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for regulating and controlling digestive functions, your heart rate, and your breathing rate—ensuring synchronicity for your body's systems. It also controls reflex actions like coughing, sneezing, choking, swallowing, and vomiting.
There can be significant emotional shifts with gut inflammation, and impairment of your memory and cognitive function. The gut's nervous system is called the enteric nervous system, which sends signals throughout your body to coordinate your cognitive and digestive functions. If the digestive system is out of alignment, these nervous system communications will be disturbed, leading to a decline in cognitive functioning.
8 Signs of an Unhealthy Gut
How do you know if your gut is healthy? Let's take a look at the eight signs of an unhealthy gut.
Bloating and Constipation
When your gut isn't functioning properly, this can lead to bloating and constipation. Bloating can cause discomfort and lethargy, while constipation can cause loss of appetite, stomach pains, and difficulty concentrating.
When stomach acid travels back up to your throat, this can cause heartburn. When your gut isn't healthy, you can experience increased heartburn as your gut will be having difficulty processing the food you eat, leading to “leaky gut” symptoms.
The majority of your body's serotonin is produced in the gut. Serotonin regulates mood and sleep, and insufficient serotonin levels can cause insomnia and fatigue. Insomnia can be dangerous and can cause decreased cognitive functioning.
Nausea, Vomiting, and Abdominal Pain
When your gut isn’t healthy, it will struggle to digest the food you eat, often rejecting it. If you find yourself feeling nauseous, vomiting, and experiencing abdominal pain, this is a key indicator that you need to restore your gut health.
Brain Fog and Poor Sleep
When your gut is imbalanced, you may experience poor quality sleep due to stress on the body. Poor sleep and decreased digestive efficiency contribute to brain fog, confusion, and lightheadedness.
Sometimes, an unhealthy gut can become incapable of digesting certain foods. If you don't care for your gut health, you could develop food intolerances like celiac disease, which can be fatal.
Weight Gain or Loss
Decreased digestive efficiency paired with a loss of appetite can cause unexpected weight gain or loss in those with an unhealthy gut. You will not be able to absorb nutrients efficiently, leading to weight loss. Additionally, your metabolic function will decrease, which could lead to weight gain. Those with a leaky gut struggle with weight management due to the need to stick to certain food groups.
Intense Headaches or Migraines
Some gut health complications can lead to intense migraines or headaches. The dehydration caused by vomiting can also contribute to these symptoms. If you have celiac disease, IBS, or an HP infection, you may experience intense aches in your head and neck.
How Can Mushrooms Naturally Support Your Gut Health?
To keep your gut healthy, consider turning towards natural supplements to support gut health. Functional mushrooms are known for their health-promoting benefits, and some provide beneficial compounds for gut health.
Contain Prebiotic Fiber That Can Support Your Digestion
The prebiotic fiber in mushrooms is also known as polysaccharides. It can perform the following functions for your digestive system:
- Supports the maintenance of healthy gut bacteria, which is beneficial for your immune system
- Supports digestive function for improved bowel movements and nutrient absorption
Incorporating functional mushrooms into your diet can support your immune system, weight management journey, and digestive health.
Contain 1,3 1,6 Beta-Glucans and Other Nutrients That Support Your Immune System
1,3 1,6 Beta-glucans are powerful compounds that can support the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Beta-glucans can positively support your immune system health.
Support Antioxidant Activity
Functional mushrooms can support antioxidant activity. Antioxidants support the body's natural ability to manage oxidation, a process in which free radicals can cause damage to cells.
Support Occasional Inflammatory Response Post-workout
When your body undergoes strenuous physical activity, you can experience delayed onset muscle soreness. This makes it difficult to resume these activities without experiencing pain. Functional mushrooms support your body's natural occasional inflammation post-workout management processes, ensuring your delayed onset muscle soreness does not last for extended periods.
6 Mushrooms for Gut Health
So, which functional mushrooms are most beneficial for your gut health? Let's explore.
Turkey tail mushrooms contain two compounds: PSP (polysaccharide peptide) and PSK (polysaccharide Krestin). One of the benefits of turkey tail is it helps to support the gut microbiota by providing prebiotic effects. Prebiotics promote diversity in your gut flora, contributing to improved immune system functioning, as well as supporting gut health!
Tremella is known for its high fiber content, offering tremendous support for the digestive system. If you want to support your bowel movements, it might be time to introduce tremella mushroom supplements into your diet.
The tremella mushroom contains N-acetylglucosamine, an important compound to promote a healthy gut. It also contains Glucomannan and Glucuronic acid which can support the natural body’s detoxification process.
Adding tremella to your supplement toolkit will help you feel like your digestive system is functioning in complete harmony with your body!
Lion's mane mushrooms are named for their luscious white tendrils, giving them the appearance of a majestic white lion. But did you know that this mushroom also benefits your digestive health and cognitive performance?
Lion's mane mushrooms support overall gut health, supporting the body's ability to prevent damaging bacteria buildup and keeping a healthy bacterial composition.
The lion's mane mushroom is like a lion, fiercely protecting your gut from any evil gut bacteria trying to compromise your health!
Reishi mushroom extract is renowned for supporting sleep health and is known as the mushroom of tranquility due to its calming effects. But it can also help to soothe your digestive tract and support gut health.
The 1,3 1,6 beta-glucans content in reishi mushrooms is ideal for supporting the body in producing healthy bacteria. This beneficial bacteria will help to support immune health and ensure your digestive system is in complete balance!
Chaga is packed with 1,3 / 1,6 Beta-glucans and prebiotic fiber. Plus, also contains triterpenoids, polyphenols, and other minerals to help support overall wellness.
It can also support antioxidant activity, supporting your body's natural inflammatory response post workout processes, allowing you to fend off the ugly consequences of poor digestive health and enjoy more comfortable bowel movements.
Shiitake mushrooms are extremely popular due to their pleasant flavor, and they are a staple in many Japanese dishes. They also provide support for your gut health and immune health, and it is packed with Vitamins B and D, to keep you energized while helping you maintain healthy bones. They contain plenty of fiber that offers prebiotic effects, supporting your body's natural digestive processes. And you can incorporate this tasty and nutritious mushroom into pretty much any recipe!
Alternatives to Support Your Gut Health
Not the biggest fan of mushrooms? Here are some alternatives to help restore beneficial bacterial species and overall gut health.
Maintain a Varied Diet With Plenty of Fiber
One of your gut's biggest enemies is an unbalanced diet. Ensuring your diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and variety is essential for gut health. Incorporating more natural fiber into your diet can promote a fast metabolism and more pleasant bowel movements.
Consume Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics. Kefir and yogurt are enjoyable foods to incorporate into your diet and help support gut health. Probiotics contain microorganisms to help the body balance good gut bacteria, ensuring your digestion is as smooth as possible.
Eat Foods That are Rich in Prebiotics
Some foods that contain prebiotics include the garlic family (onions, leeks, shallots), asparagus, bananas, and chicory root. Prebiotic foods help fuel healthy gut bacteria, promoting digestive balance and reducing the potential for a leaky gut.
The Bottom Line
Many people neglect to consider the importance of the gut when improving their health. The gut is the cornerstone of enhancing mood balance, digestion, cognitive performance, and heart health. By taking time to tend to your gut, you can improve many different facets of your health.Ready to heal your gut? Try one of the supplements or dietary recommendations listed above. At Mushroom Revival, we proudly help you nourish your body with natural ingredients and we offer a mushroom supplement that includes all 5 listed mushrooms. Our Daily 10 Mushroom Mix can help support your immune system, provide energy, support brainpower, and naturally detox your body, while simultaneously supporting your gut health. Shop today!