(WFLA) — Gut health has become the latest trend on social media, but health experts say it’s more than just the latest fad, it plays a vital role in your overall health.
“The more diverse gut bacteria you have, the better your overall health typically is,” said Dr. Joseph Salhab, a local gastroenterologist.
Salhab has a big social media following, going by the name ‘The Stomach Doc’ on all platforms.
With more than a million followers on Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, he uses social media to educate people on digestion and nutrition.
If you look at his videos, it’s a topic that comes up constantly, and for good reason.
“Your gut is actually intricately involved in most processes of the body,” said Dr. Salhab.
So how do you know if you have bad gut health?
“It’s not fun to have symptoms of acid reflux gas, bloating, abdominal pain, or having to [go to] the restroom every time you need to eat, and sometimes those symptoms can be reflective of poor gut health,” said Dr. Salhab. “They actually call the gut the second brain, and the things you eat can influence your mood, can influence anxiety, can influence depression.”
Although research into the gut is still relatively new, Salhab said they are starting to see long-term connections too.
“We’re finding out more and more that it actually affects things like chronic diseases, things like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and can even predispose you to things like colon cancer if you have gut bacterial dysfunction,” Salhab said.
So how can you keep your gut health in check? Dr. Salhab said managing stress, drinking enough water, and most importantly, eating a healthy diet that includes foods that are high in fiber, foods that replenish good bacteria, and foods that are rich in antioxidants.
“I know it’s easy to just to just eat whatever you want, and just kind of forget about it, but we know that bad gut health really affects every other thing in the body,” said Dr. Salhab.