What is gut health?
Gut health seems to be the buzz word at the moment but what exactly is it?
And, anyone that claims to be an expert on gut health…… they’re NOT! We are only at the tip of the iceberg in relation to learning about the gut and its microbiota and what makes a healthy microbiome.
What we do know is that the gut itself has a barrier that is effective at keeping the contents of the gut such as its microbiota, undigested food particles and toxins from escaping into the bloodstream.
We also know that a healthy gut can be effective in digestion, to fight off infection and assist in keep your body at its optimal potential.
SOME factors that can disrupt the microbiome include:
- Disruptions and changes in the acid/alkaline balance of the bowels
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Inbuprofen and others) are destructive to intestinal flora.
- Virtually all meat, chicken, and dairy that you eat (other than organic) is loaded with antibiotics, which destroy all of the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract.
- A diet high in meats and fats, because they take so long to break down in the human body, promotes the growth of the harmful, putrefying bacteria.
- Constipation, of course, allows harmful bacteria to hang around longer, which allows them to proliferate.
- Cigarettes, alcohol, and stress
- Medicinal antibiotics. The problem is that antibiotics indiscriminately destroy both bad and good bacteria.
So, should you be supplementing with pro-biotics?
The million dollar question!
Research suggests that probiotics may be of use to people with specific health concerns.
Well, probiotics may be of use to people with specific health concerns or to people interested in dietary modifications to help them stay healthy.
Health effects are strain specific. There is no one blanket approach to probiotics treatment.
Not all products on the market are backed by research.
Increasing the level of live cultures from foods may be of benefit to boost the immune system. Dietary sources include fermented dairy products, kombucha and fermented vegetables.
If you are buying a probiotic supplement be aware that probiotics are sensitive to environmental exposure such as heat, moisture, oxygen and acid.
Are you eating enough prebiotic foods to feed the existing bacteria in your gut or support your supplementation? Prebiotics are found naturally in a lot of foods. Apples, berries, citrus fruits, sweet potato, green-ish bananas, onions, raw garlic, oats, flaxseed, legumes.
Bottom line. If you’re wanting to supplement your diet with probiotics a healthy diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes will help you get the maximum benefit.