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Why Is Gut Health Important?

Lose Weight, Feel Great, and Stop Getting Sick: It Starts With Your Gut

Is your gut healthy? Believe it or not, the gut — especially its healthy bacteria — has so much to do with the way your body functions, well beyond your digestion.

Related: WTF Is Probiotic Water?

"When it comes to ensuring women's health, there's nothing quite as powerful as a balanced microbiome," said Jamie Morea, founder of Hyperbiotics. "The amount of good microbes in your gut impacts everything, from your cognitive health and your immune system to your metabolism, energy levels, and muscular strength."

It's true — more and more science is linking gut health and the bacteria in our digestive tract to different aspects of health, including weight loss. Dr. Frank Lippman is an advocate of a balanced gut as well, citing that a healthy gut can be a fat-burning machine and aids in losing weight.

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But hold on a minute — what exactly is a microbiome? Put simply (and to spare you a semester of biology), the human microbiome (also known as microbiota) is your body's own little ecosystem of all the microorganisms (read: bacteria) living in your GI tract and the environment in which they live.

Here's how a healthy gut (a balanced microbiome!) impacts the rest of your health:

  1. Promotes a Healthy Immune System. Science has shown that a healthy gut = a healthy you. Probiotics protect your body from infection and bolster your immune system, giving you an increased ability to fight off illness. More probiotics means less need for antibiotics. Yay!
  2. Improves Mood. Some sources have pointed to the gut's effect on mental health and mood, citing that probiotics could help with depression and anxiety. Some studies even saw personality shifts!
  3. Can Help You Lose Weight. In a 2013 study, obese women were able to "achieve sustainable weight loss" through the improved health of their gut and the addition of probiotics — meaning probiotics can aid in weight loss.
  4. Better Digestion. Healthy bacteria can combat a slew of digestive issues, including bloating, IBS, and constipation.
  5. Clearer Skin. Skin woes got you down? Drink some kombucha or get a probiotic supplement! A balanced gut contributes to healthy skin and has been known to fight eczema and even clear up acne.
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Ericka McConnell
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