Prepare to unlearn everything you thought you knew.
Gut health has become a topic of increasing interest in recent years, but despite the emerging new research and studies, there are still many misconceptions. We asked NHS GP, Dr Sara Kayat to help bust some common myths and clear up any confusion.
Myth #1: Diet is the only thing that impacts your gut health.
Fact: While the foods you consume influence gut health, it's not the sole dictator. Stress, sleep (or lack thereof), and physical activity also profoundly impact your gut. A holistic approach encompassing multiple lifestyle factors is the best way to nurture and maintain a thriving gut ecosystem. Remember, a healthy gut results from a well-rounded lifestyle, not just what's on your plate.
Myth #2: A gluten-free diet is essential for optimal gut health.
Fact: Unless you have coeliac disease, eliminating gluten from your diet is unnecessary. In fact, whole grains containing gluten can provide essential nutrients and fibre that promote a healthy gut.
Myth #3: All bacteria in the gut are harmful.
Fact: The gut is home to trillions of bacteria, both beneficial and potentially harmful strains. Many beneficial bacteria support digestion and overall gut health, so a favourable balance of bacteria is more important than eliminating all bacteria.
Myth #4: Cleanses and detoxes are great ways to maintain gut health.
Fact: Many detox diets and cleanses that claim to "reset" the gut are pseudoscience. The body has a natural detoxification process, and extreme dietary restrictions can disrupt the gut microbiome and lead to nutrient deficiencies.
Myth #5: Antibiotics won’t affect your gut flora.Fact: Antibiotics can disrupt the balance of bacteria in the gut, leading to digestive issues. It is recommended to use antibiotics judiciously and consider probiotic supplementation during and after antibiotic treatment to replace the lost beneficial bacteria.
Want more from Dr Sara Kayat? Find three ways to harness the power of your microbiome.