How Do You Know if Your Gut Is Off-Balance? A Nutritionist Shares the 10 Signs

Updated 04/11/17

We've been reading a lot about gut health lately—including the lifestyle habits that impact it, the foods to eat and avoid, and how constant snacking can lead to inflammation. But how do you know if your gut bacteria is off-balance in the first place? For example, I often feel bloated and uncomfortable, especially after a weekend of unhealthy eating—is this normal, or are certain foods irritating my stomach to an unhealthy degree?

According to Jeanette Hyde, a registered nutritional therapist and author of The Gut Makeover, there are up to 10 signs that your gut could use a makeover. "A healthy and balanced microbiome … can help make us slim, happy, sleep well, and even have a strong immune system," she explains on MindBodyGreen. "When the species of bacteria that live in our gut are varied mostly 'good,' we feel great, but when the opposite is true, it can manifest in a number of ways." Below, read up on the 10 signs your gut bacteria is imbalanced, as originally outlined by Hyde: 

  1. You are overweight and have trouble losing weight.
  2. You are prediabetic or have developed type 2 diabetes.
  3. You have chronic acne and can't seem to grow out of it.
  4. You feel irritable and low—despite your life being in order.
  5. You suffer from chronic bloating.
  6. You have chronic constipation or urgent loose stools.
  7. Your joints ache.
  8. You suffer from asthma attacks.
  9. You don't sleep well.
  10. Your memory isn't working as well as it used to.

Fortunately, gut issues can be treated primarily through diet and lifestyle changes. Hyde recommends following a gut-friendly diet consisting of a variety of vegetables, fiber-rich fruits, and extra-virgin olive oil with polyphenols to "feed the good bacteria" in your gut. "Adding in some fermented foods, such as saurkraut or fermented milk kefir will help foster useful bacteria, too," she adds.

Head over to MindBodyGreen for more insight, and read up on the common mistakes people make when eating for gut health.

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