A Guide To Gut Health

05/02/2021, Dr. Ámina Alani, Digestive Health Expert at SHA Wellness Clinic

What is intestinal health? Why is it good for general wellbeing? What is the role of the microbiota? Why does stress affect our stomach so much? How can we improve our digestion?

Dr. Ámina Alani, digestive health expert at SHA Wellness Clinic, answers all these questions and more in the below interview.

1. What is intestinal health?

It is the one that guarantees a correct functioning of our digestive tract and, therefore, a correct digestion that facilitates the supply of nutrients to the organism, as well as the proper excretion of waste generated. It also ensures the balance of the microbiota, which has important functions in our body: energy and metabolic, protects against other pathogenic germs and their proliferation in the intestine, strengthens the immune system, etc.

2. Why is good digestive health so important for our overall wellbeing?

The digestive system is interconnected with the rest of the body, especially the central nervous system and the immune system, so good digestive health is reflected in good general health. I like to say that it is the digestive system that, in a way, balances the body.

3. What is the gut microbiota?

The microbiota can be defined as the set of micro-organisms present in a defined environment of the organism. In this case, the microbiota located in the intestinal tract, for example, would be referred to as the gut microbiota.

4. What are the functions of the microbiota? 

First of all, it has a metabolic and digestive activity. It also has a protective role against pathogens and is a decisive factor in the development and maturation of the immune system.

5. How can we improve our gut health and prevent digestive problems?

In general, by leading a healthy lifestyle. We should increase the consumption of prebiotic and probiotic foods, learn to manage stress, exercise and encourage adequate rest, among other healthy habits.

6. What foods are suitable for promoting good digestion?

Foods that are anti-inflammatory and non-irritating for the digestive mucosa contribute to maintaining a healthy intestine and, therefore, good health. Vegetables, garlic, onions, asparagus, fruit, cereals, pulses, seeds and olive oil should not be missing from our diet.

A Guide To Gut Health

7. What is the relationship between the gut and the immune system?

The two are a mirror image of each other. A weak gut is conducive to a weak immune system, and vice versa. The effect is therefore two-way: the damage to one leads to damage to the other.

8. Why do emotions have such a strong influence on the digestive system?

We can consider this area as our second brain. Our emotions or thoughts are communicated with the gut. Nowadays we talk about the gut-brain axis because of these implications. Our emotional condition affects our digestive health and vice versa.

9. How do coffee, alcohol and drugs affect gut health?

Alcohol and drugs can irritate the intestinal mucosa and lead to an imbalance in the gut microbiota (dysbiosis). Among the factors affecting the microbiome of our digestive system, scientists highlight the role of drugs. The intake of drugs such as antibiotics, laxatives, female hormones, antidepressants and antihistamines alters the composition of the gut microbiota. Studies have shown that coffee has a positive effect on gut microbiota, as it has a prebiotic effect. Coffee contains soluble fibre, mainly arabinogalactans and galactomannans.

10. How should prevention and treatment of the intestinal tract be approached?

At SHA Wellness Clinic we are aware of the consequences that caring for the intestinal tract has on our health and that is why we have created a specific unit and programme where we try to offer an innovative and multidisciplinary service of prevention, guidance and treatment of disorders that involve a digestive and microbiota imbalance, as well as the various psychological and organic disorders that generate these dysfunctions.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

About The Author
Dr. Ámina Alani has a degree in Medicine and Surgery from The University of Granada, with a specialisation in Sports Medicine from The University of Malaga. She also has a Master's degree in Nutrition and Human Dietetics from the University of Cadiz, as well as an Official Master's degree in Neuroscience and Pain Medicine from the University of Granada Spain.

With more than 15 years of professional experience, Dr Alani is responsible for SHA's new Gut Health programme and specialises in the application of comprehensive and cutting-edge medical treatments in pain medicine, as well as in anti-ageing therapies for patients that are suffering from physiological stress or diseases that accelerate cellular ageing.  

A Guide To Gut Health

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