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Exercise and Gut Health

By Kitty Chao.

The human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is inhabited by a wide cluster of microorganisms that play protective, structural, and metabolic functions for the intestines. Gut microbiota has many functions and one of them is maintaining homeostasis.

Our gut microbiome contains trillions of microorganisms which work to affect:

  • Metabolism
  • Immunity
  • Endocrine functions
  • Mental health

Most of our gut bacteria help the intestinal cells above to provide a pathway to work. Some of us are already aware that the food we eat has an impact on our gut health, we have already been told that we need to have more probiotics and prebiotics such as yogurt, kimchi, fibrous vegetables and many more.

There has been a new relationship between gut microbiota and physical activity. However, there is much more research needed in the area, but research has shown that an increase in physical activity can have a positive impact on gut health.

Physical activity has shown that exercise can help gut health by:

  • Increased diversity in the microbiome
  • Improving bacteria ratio
  • Increased microbial diversity in the stool

Research has shown that low-intensity exercise can influence the GIT by reducing the transient stool time and contact time between pathogens and gastrointestinal mucus. Due to this, exercise has a protective impact on reducing the risk of colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases. Exercise also plays an anti-inflammatory action in the gut. Overall exercise itself is able to enrich the microflora of the gut which could contribute to reducing weight, obesity-related pathologies, gastrointestinal disorders such as colon cancer.

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