The health of our digestive system is a fundamental part of good health. You become what you eat on a cellular level, but before that happens everything you eat must be digested. If there are issues with your digestion, then in some shape or form you are going to have health issues. Did you know that 80% of your immune response resides in your lovely intestines? It’s true.
Those lovely intestines are also brimming with bacteria, some are lovely and friendly, they help keep you healthy. The others aren’t so lovely, they do the opposite.
How much bacteria are we talking?
We are talking around 500 different species of bacteria in an amount that out numbers our human cells 10 times! We are made up of more bacteria than we are human, and we always want this bacteria to be more friendly than unfriendly. I once heard that the colony of microbes that surrounded and inhabit us should be considered and treated like an organ. It is essential to our health, when it is damaged or imbalanced, so are we.
So what do they do exactly?
The short answer is they fight. Yes, there is a war going on inside you. The good guys and bad guys are duking it out in your gut, they are fighting for space and food.
The beneficial bacteria are helpful in boosting our production of antibodies and thus, boosting immune function. They help to get rid of disease causing pathogens and toxins that enter your digestive system. They help regulate digestion and intestinal function; they can even produce vitamins and nutrients.
They say a healthy, balanced gut flora is made up of 80% good guys, 20% bad guys. Unfortunately, many of us are leaning towards the opposite.
Strong links have been made between bacterial imbalances in the gut and autoimmune disorders like psoriasis, arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Allergies, depression, skin conditions, obesity and many other digestive/health issues may be caused by an over population of bad gut bacteria and the toxic byproducts they release.
Symptoms of a bacterial imbalance can include:
- Acid reflux
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Yeast, ear and kidney infections
- High cholesterol
- Skin issues
- Auto-immune disorders
You are not just an innocent bystander, there are many things your can do to influence the outcome of this internal war.
What you feed them matters!
The good guys prefer prebiotic foods- foods that contain indigestible fiber that can make it to the lower part of your intestines where the bacteria reside. Foods like onions, garlic, tomatoes, asparagus, artichokes, bananas and leafy green stuff are the favourite foods of the friendly guys.
The bad guys love processed foods. They feed off of sugar and food additives (liking colourings and preservatives). It’s important to limit your intake of these things and increase the fiber rich, whole foods that the good guys love.
You can benefit your flora balance by eating the friendly guys directly. You've heard of this before, we call them PROBIOTICS.
The following are great food sources of probiotics:
- Yogurt (goat’s milk yogurt is ideal, many brands in grocery stores are filled with high fructose corn syrup (sugar!), and artificial sweeteners) – Sweeten your yogurt with a sweet, mineral rich alternative like unpasteurized honey or maple syrup)
- Fermented foods such as:
- Kombucha Tea
- Tempeh (fermented tofu)
- Micro algae such as chlorella and spirulina
- Organic dark chocolate
It’s not all about food though.
The following are not friendly to our internal ecosystems:
- Chlorinated water
- Antibiotic use
- Birth control pills
- Environmental toxins and pollutions
A good probiotic supplement is a great way to reinoculate those lovely intestines, improve your digestion and reap all the benefits that go along with it- more energy, less bloating, less acid reflux, less cramping, better mental focus, better immunity and so much more.
If you would like more advice on improving your balance, on supplement brands, dosages, or if you simply want to digest like a god and be a little more Simply Nourished, book a sesh with me and let’s make your belly a happy belly.