These days we all know that gut health plays a huge role in our overall health – and that if our gut isn’t quite right, then there’s a high chance that we won’t be feeling our best. But did you know that your gut health can also play a big role in the results you see when it comes to sweating it out in the gym?
When it comes to health and fitness goals, there are two ‘levers’ that most of us think to push or pull depending on our goals. The first is diet – considering the fuel we put into our bodies. The second is exercise – the way in which we expend the energy we receive from food. At its most obvious level, the connection between the two seems pretty obvious. But today we’re delving a little deeper – to look at how the gut microbiome affects the way in which you achieve your fitness goals.
The bacteria in your gut can play a role in managing your weight – namely because it can affect the way in which your body absorbs nutrients, and the productions of hormones in your body that control hunger and keep your blood sugar levels steady. While a healthy microbiome isn’t the whole answer when it comes to weight management, diversity and variety in your diet can help keep your gut in tip top condition.
Short chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as butyrate are produced when some of the good bacteria in your gut (probiotics) digest prebiotics (their food source). SCFAs help to reduce inflammation, can help to maintain the integrity of the gut walls, and impressively, some SCFAs have properties that can lower your risk of developing colo-rectal cancer.
In the context of your fitness goals, SCFAs be a great energy source, and can also ensure that your body is functioning at an optimal level. Feeding the good bacteria in your gut can make a big difference when it comes to meeting (and surpassing) your health and fitness targets.
You can’t expect your body to perform at an optimum level in the gym if you’re not looking after it properly. Looking after your gut health can lead to improved immune system function – in fact it is estimated that around 80% of your immune cells live within your digestive system. Using food as your medicine, do your best to eat the rainbow and provide your body with a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.
Whilst a good workout can feel great, it’s important to remember that adequate recovery will keep you firing in the long term. The bacteria in your gut plays an extremely important role in supporting effective recovery, namely by helping to keep your blood sugar levels steady and your body absorb nutrients most effectively.
The gut microbiome – some might say it’s your secret weapon to sweaty success in the gym!
Intended as general advice only. Please consult your Health Care Provider to discuss any specific concerns.