A healthy gut
When it comes to finding balance we usually think of exercise and nutrition. Although these aspects both play an important role in keeping our bodies strong and healthy, we need to look a little deeper. Literally! All the way into the gut. Our digestive system is so much more than just a processing machine that converts food to energy, it is the brain part of our bodies that process the information that food (nutrition) gives us and decides how to utilise the useful nutrients and dispose of the oxidants and antigens, essentially making you into the healthy or unhealthy body/person you are.
How many times in the last few years have we heard or read about this mysterious thing called the microbiome? Many still find it quite a confusing and foreign topic. But the truth is, we all have a microbiome, and we should be aware of the role it plays in our health. To simplify it, the microbiome is a family of friendly bacteria that live in your gut. Our bodies have both good and bad bacteria present. The microbiome are the ‘good guys’...they are like an army that team up to help digestion, enhance your resistance to disease and fight off illness, ultimately regulating the metabolism of body essential systems and even assisting in body weight control and wellness. This is why we need to keep them happy and healthy, ensuring that they are fed the right stuff and maintaining a good quantity of bacteria in the gut.
Recent research has and continues to draw parallels and connections to the benefits of a well maintained gut environment and the role it plays in the reduction of risk of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease to name a few. Gut health is also linked to improved cognitive and mental health, so there really is no reason not to make moves to implementing habits that can help improve our gut family.
How do we know our gut is unhappy?
Some obvious symptoms may include: Gas, bloating, diarrhea, bad breath, acid reflux, constipation
Top tips to improving gut health.
1- Cut out the junk-
Avoid eating processed foods high in salt and sugar and refined carbohydrates and replace simple convenience foods with whole hearty foods including fruits, vegetables and lean protein options. Including fermented foods such as sauerkraut and pickles can also enhance good bacteria levels.
2- Introducing Probiotics-
Probiotics are the good bacteria that improve gut health. Introducing probiotic supplements and foods like pickled and fermented foods and yogurts with live cultures can help you to replace good bacteria, this is especially necessary after taking medication like antibiotics that could kill bacteria in the body. There are a number of different probiotic options out there and to better navigate them I have included a link to a really useful guide put together by a well established and esteemed research team, follow the link: https://www.reviews.com/probiotic-supplement/
3- Avoid antibiotics-
Unless absolutely necessary! Remember that these medications kill bacteria both good and bad, so make sure that you restock on probiotics to increase your good bacteria after an illness to reestablish the condition of your gut microbiome.
4- Spend time outdoors-
It is important to expand and diversify the types of bacteria you are exposed to. Exposure to a diverse range will improve and expand your immune system.