Have you ever felt like you’re doing everything right and you still feel bad? You’re cooking healthy recipes, working out, and all-around taking care of yourself — but you still feel less than amazing? According to Dr. Prudence Hall of The Hall Center, poor gut health may be to blame. We talked with her and found that there are some clear signs of gut imbalance, as well as some easy ways to improve your health, starting today.

Why Gut Balance Matters

Gut imbalance can go beyond a simple tummy ache and negatively affect the whole body in a variety of ways. Symptoms might include gas, heartburn, bloating, and IBS. Luckily, rebalancing the gut can be achieved by following a series of steps to reduce inflammation, increase resiliency, and lower the body’s level of reactivity — or how your system reacts to influence your whole internal environment.

“When working to rebalance, we start by removing irritants. Next, we replace important factors that support optimal digestion [and] this helps repair the lining,” Dr. Hall explains. “This is so important because it prevents unwanted food particles from leaking through your body’s protective barrier, which can cause problems and pain when it happens.”

4 Signs To Watch Out For

1. Thyroid Dysfunction: Fatigue, backup, hair loss, and the inability to regulate body temp are all signs of thyroid dysfunction. “Ask your doctor to evaluate your hormones to find out how you can best go about treating your particular imbalances,” Dr. Hall says.

2. Stubborn Weight Gain: Gut health affects how metabolism works, and if you’re having trouble losing weight, a gut imbalance might be to blame. A simple gut test will reveal unwanted bacterial organisms that are causing extra pounds to stick.

3. Food Sensitivities: “One of the first symptoms of a compromised gut are food sensitivities,” Dr. Hall says. “If you’re experiencing bloat, or feel[ing] gassy or nauseous, think about getting tested for food sensitivities.” Learning what you should and shouldn’t eat is a great first step toward re-balancing your gut.

4. Skin Conditions: Believe it or not, what’s going on inside your gut is reflected on your skin. “Eczema, acne, rosacea, and psoriasis are all believed to be mediated by the gut,” Dr. Hall says. These ailments can be remedied by relatively simple dietary changes. Hall recommends ditching dairy, gluten, and sugar for starters.

how to Start RE-Balancing your gut today

1. Fill your plate with veggies (and some fruit). “Nutrition has the most powerful influence on the gut microbiome,” says Hall. She recommends eating a variety of fermented foods like sauerkraut and kefir. To take it a step further, Dr. Hall suggests taking prebiotics and probiotics (either in food or supplement form). “These will promote beneficial microbial species in your gut, which is a great thing.”

2. Manage your stress levels. Learning coping methods for anxiety and how to relax after a tough day can go a long way when it comes to gut health. If you’re unsure where to start, first identify what tips you off-balance and then begin making changes. This could translate into changing up your morning routine, focusing on self-care, exercising more, or adjusting your sleep schedule.

3. Ditch the drugs. “Avoid taking ibuprofen, steroids, acid-reducing drugs, and antibiotics as much as you can,” Dr. Hall advises. In addition, “Antibiotics are often prescribed for viral or minor bacterial infections, but the truth is that these can be cleared up just as well using natural therapies!” Bottom line: Never underestimate your body’s healing powers, which are the most effective when you get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food.

Have you suffered from a gut imbalance? How did it affect you and what did you do to fix it? Tweet us the deets @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)