3 Ways Gut Bacteria Keeps You Healthy
Gut Bacteria is vital for every human. Without it, we wouldn’t be here. Think of the
bacteria as Kenny Rogers and the rest of us as Dolly Parton. Separately we are okay, but let’s be
honest, we’re only successful because we work together. The bacteria in our guts are
responsible for everything from helping us digest food to signaling our immune system that
something is wrong. Without these little guys on our team we would be hurting for sure.
Let’s establish something. When it comes to having healthy gut bacteria, this doesn’t mean the presence of one certain type of bacteria, but rather the presence of a diverse combination of different types of bacteria. This diversity allows us to digest different types of foods and produce different biological responses in the body. While Gut Bacteria research is still new, more and more researchers are finding correlations between certain gut bacteria compositions and chronic diseases such as colon cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. Researchers are also finding correlations between gut bacteria compositions and mental illnesses like anxiety, depression, and ADD. In true scientific form, complete acceptance of these ideas is likely thousands of studies and decades away, but the evidence is clear. Your gut bacteria composition plays a role in your health, and luckily for you, you can control it. You have the power to shift your gut bacteria away from the compositions that lead to these diseases and illnesses. Here are a few things you can do to dramatically improve your gut health:
1. Break Away From The Typical “Western” Diet- Doing this will help to promote the growth of a diverse gut biome. This can be easier said than done since the western diet isn’t known for its diversity. The typical western diet tends to be rich in fat and sugar, both of which seem to promote the growth of bacteria that lead to chronic diseases and mental illness. The typical western diet tends to consist of a high amount of animal products such as meat and dairy. Animal products aren’t inherently bad, they just lack diversity. Chicken, beef, pork, fish, and seafood make up most of these animal products. On the flipside there are over 20,000 different species of edible plants in the world. Which do you think will promote the growth of more diverse gut bacteria? Exactly… So go ahead and enjoy your meat, just try to work different types of greens, beans, and legumes into your meals. Speaking of greens, beans, and legumes…
2. Eat Your Fruits and Veggies- It turns out Mom was right this whole time. Fruits and vegetables are the best source of nutrients for healthy gut bacteria. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber which can’t be digested by your body, but it can be digested by certain types of healthy bacteria in your gut thereby promoting their growth. Blackberries, blueberries, artichokes, raspberries, broccoli, and kale have all been shown to promote the growth of Bifidobacteria which has been shown to help prevent inflammation and enhance gut health. The fiber and nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables will help promote the growth of helpful gut bacteria, so make sure you eat that fruit sitting on your counter before it goes bad. Actually….
3. Don’t Be Afraid Of Fermented Foods- No this does not mean you should go throw back 5 glasses of wine a night because your trainer said so. But it does mean that fermented foods tend to be rich in probiotics. Probiotics are living bacteria and yeast that live in your digestive system and have as number of health benefits. Foods like yogurt, kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, kefir, and kimchi are chock full of these beneficial bacteria. A recent study found that people who consume a lot of yogurt have more lactobacilli in their guts. This gut bacteria appears to reduce inflammation and promote overall health. These same people also appear to have fewer Enterobacteriaceae, a bacterium associated with inflammation and chronic disease. A quick note… when it comes to yogurt, check the sugar content. A lot of yogurt nowadays have an excess of added sugar. Sugar tends to promote the growth of bad bacteria thus negating the benefits of eating yogurt in the first place. So if you are going to go for the yogurt, eat the plain and natural kind.
There you have it! More research is proving the importance of having healthy gut bacteria. If you want to improve that gut health, eat natural and fermented foods and try to shift away from the traditional western diet. If you have any questions do not hesitate to shoot us an email. Check out our website for more healthy information. See you next time!