Nutrition

The Importance Of Gut Health

 

By Myprotein Writer 

Jamie Bantleman

 
The gut is where you digest and utilise the foods that are consumed on a day-to-day basis. A healthy digestive system is of huge importance to our ability to improve both body composition and general health and well-being.

Digestion of a nutrient is done by a process started by peristalsis in which when the food is passed through the esophagus via muscle contractions – this then leads to the stomach, where the food is then converted into chyme.

Peristalsis then pushes the chyme through the intestine into the body. This is how digestion of a nutrient is utilised by the body. 


Let’s Talk Protein & Gut Health

This idea has plagued nutrition plans for a long period of time.

fibre foods

The breakdown of protein in the body retrieves the essential amino acids that it needs for performing many different functions in the body. Two particular compounds – sodium and chloride – are used to transport the amino acids to the rest of the body.

The small intestines will hold 95% amino acids (to be broken down into protein) for a prolonged period of time until the body needs them for utilisation. The other 5% will be passed through the colon to be broken down into bacteria.

Due to the small intestine being a vital organ, it will consume around 50% of the amino acids for gut function and will then allow rest of the amino acids to pass through to support other functions. With amino acids being a fundamental necessity for muscular growth, it is advised to consume a considerable amount of amino acids through dietary protein sources, to ensure it reaches all muscle cell tissues.

Read: Foods High In Amino Acids

When consuming 30g of protein, around 15g of will be released to muscle tissue to allow growth of the cell. Therefore, dietary consumption of amino acids is ample for both body composition and health. (1)

Body Composition

 
Protein is one of three macro-nutrients – it can be eaten via foods such as meat, eggs, dairy products, soy products and beans – alongside protein supplementation. It is perfect for helping improve recovery, increase lean muscle tissue, help decrease body fat and to transport vital nutrients to all organs.

Due to the small intestines absorbing around 50% of the consumed amino acids, it is a necessity to either consume more protein in form of food or supplement with amino acids, whey protein or casein protein.

Gut health is key to being able to transport vitamins, compounds and minerals to organs and muscle cells. A poor digestion could lead to issues such as poor absorption and therefore the small intestines, a key organ, will have poor function, and a knock on effect of the rest of the body’s system not receiving the desired amount of nutrients.

Digestive Discomfort

 
In addition to all of the above, poor gut health can result in digestive discomfort – including cramps, aches and pains!


How To Improve Gut Health

A clean diet of quality animal or plant protein sources and healthy fat sources are very important for gut health, alongside the consumption of good sources of carbohydrates (if your body utilises them effectively).

wholegrain fibre

A macronutrient breakdown could be:

Protein 40% Fats 40% Carbs 20%

The above carbohydrates should consist of fibrous carbs; for example, green vegetables, fruit, wholegrains etc. Fibre is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system – the daily recommended intake sits at around 14g a day.

Read More On Fibre Sources & Benefits

To further improve gut function, it is advised to rotate your food choices, it is often found that intolerances can occur when people eat the same source of protein, fat or carbohydrate at every meal for a long period of time.

This should mean changing the amino acid profile, fatty acid profile and switching up the Glycaemic Index of your foods.

For example:

Chicken has a different leucine content than beef (leucine is an essential amino acid that can help with muscle growth due to it’s ability to contribute to a higher rate of protein synthesis).

Almonds are a monounsaturated fat when coconut oil is a saturated fat.

Supplementation?

 

DigestiMax 1 capsule per meal (Digestive aid)
L-Glutamine 3g with morning meal and 3g post workout

*Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in foods – it is known for being aiding intestinal health. The reason for this being that cells use glutamine as a preferred fuel source rather than glucose (sugar). (2)


Take Home Message

 
Looking after the gut should be a necessary part of your lifestyle – as explained above, a healthy digestive system is not only key for fitness, but also health and well being!

References

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MR PROTEIN

MR PROTEIN

Writer and expert


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