There is so much more to the gut than we think.We all have had a “gut” feeling before and this is due to the brain/gut connection. These sensations emanating from your belly suggest that your brain and gut are connected. The communication system between your gut and brain is called the gut-brain axis. What I find so mind blowing is that recent studies show that your brain affects your gut health and your gut may even affect your brain health. It is now estimated that over 3/4 of our immune system resides in our intestinal tract, with over 500 species of bacteria present. This means that about 70% of the body’s immune cells reside in the intestine! With just this fact alone you want to make sure your gut is getting the proper care.
The good bacteria in your body work to keep you both feeling and functioning at your best by:
- Supporting your immune system
- Digesting your food
- Supporting mental clarity
- Promoting nutrient absorption
- Maintaining normal hormonal balance
- Maintaining normal glucose levels
- Supporting a healthy gut barrier
- Promoting healthy immune system function
- Supporting healthy microbe balance
So what is good bacteria exactly?Well basically a simple answer is probiotics. Probiotics are nothing more than good bacteria in your body. Your body’s health depends very much on the bacteria that lives inside it. 100+ trillion number of probiotic bacteria and yeast are in a healthy person - 10 times more than the cells in the body. So you want to do your best to make sure you take care of your gut health.
Gut Flora ImbalanceThis is more common than not and we are learning more and more about it. Many issues stem from an imbalance in the gut. An imbalance in gut flora can be caused by many things but common example are: poor food choices, typical emotional stress, lack of sleep and environmental and genetic factors.
Here are some tips to incorporate for better Gut Health:
Get in More of the “Good”:
- Healthy Gut Foods -Incorporate more natural sources of probiotics and eat a variety of these to help get in all the beneficial strains of bacteria. Stock up on: Sauerkraut, Kimichi, Fermented Salsa, Fermented Veggies, Natural Yogurt, Kefir, Naturally Aged Cheeses, etc. Cultured drinks like kombucha and water or milk kefir also provide probiotics.
- Take a Probiotic Supplement-Many of us need more help in the probiotic department than simple dietary changes can provide. We can all fall short at times and it's important to invest in a good probiotic supplement. I really have been liking particularly NOW® Women’s Probiotic 20 Billion. I always feel great when I include a probiotic supplement in my routine and this is one easy choice that you can start with today.
- More Relaxation and Meditation -Researchers now consider the gut to be the second brain and studies show that stress can negatively affect your gut and digestive tract. Integrating some form of meditation into your life can help to calm your nervous system, improve your immune function, reduce everyday stress & tension - all of which impact your gut health.
Watch Out for the “Bad”:
- Don’t Eat Sugars/Grains/Excess Starches/Vegetable Oils -These foods deplete beneficial bacteria very quickly and can consequently suppress immunity and lead to a variety of health problems.
- Use Less Antibacterial Soap and Harsh Cleaning Chemicals -These types of soaps kill bacteria, good or bad, and some suggest that overuse of antibacterial soap may be contributing to the rise in resistant strains of bacteria like MRSA. Use a quality natural soap and warm water to clean hands as a great alternative.
- Stress Less - Enough said. Stress is a precursor to many health ailments. So give yourself permission to take relaxation breaks throughout the day even for 5 minutes of just breathing more deeply.