August 30, 2016
It is becoming more and more common that the root cause of many diseases stems from issues in our digestive track. Symptoms like bloating, fatigue, stomach gurgling, and foggy head are ailments that many people are living with, unaware that there is a solution to it all. The most common source of irritation comes from food. The food we are eating now is very different to the food our parents and our grandparents used to eat – but that is a whole other story!
The state of our gut microbiome is a significant determinant of our overall health. Gut health contributes to over 80% of our immunity, is responsible for our digestion, and regulates our metabolism. When this balance is disrupted, it can have considerable effects on our energy!
Many of you may have heard that within our gut, there is a mixture of both good and bad bacteria. When the scales are tipped, and the bad bacteria become dominant, issues start to arise. Factors like alcohol, unhealthy foods and antibiotics are the main culprits in killing off the good bacteria, but they’re not the only ones.
In order to restore this balance, there are two main ways to bring the good bacteria back to thrive. The first are PRObiotics. These are the friendly bacteria naturally found in the body that can also be sourced from foods and supplements. When you’re trying to right the balance of good and bad bacteria, increasing your amount of probiotics will help improve your gut health.
Health Benefits of Probiotics
• Assist with digestion and nutrient utilisation
• Boost the immune system
• Improve oral health
• Aid with detoxification
• Modulate inflammation
• Balance pH levels
• Reduce symptoms and causes of irritable bowel syndrome
• Regulate metabolism and help with weight loss
There are many natural sources of probiotics in foods, but for an added boost you can always take a probiotic supplement. Try and find one with a range of different strains, and at least 30 billion bacteria. Some food sources include:
• Yoghurt with ‘live’ or ‘active’ cultures
• Fermented vegetables
• Fortified milks (Yakult)
So imagine that you have a garden and you plant all these beautiful flowers in it. The flowers are there to help overcome the weed issue that you’ve been having. If you were to just leave the flowers once you’d planted them, they could last a little while, but eventually they would die off without food or water to feed them. PREbiotics are the same concept for your gut. The probiotics are the flowers you plant to weed out the bad bacteria, and prebiotics are the fertiliser that feed the good bacteria and discourage the growth of bad bacteria.
Health Benefits of Prebiotics
• Promote the growth of good bacteria and ensures bad bacteria survival is reduced
• Lower your colon pH
• Prevent constipation and diarrhea
• Reduce symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
• Further assist with weight management
Again, deriving prebiotics from food sources is best, but for those with stomach ailments, a prebiotic supplement can go a long way to help rectify this. Food sources include:
• Vegetables particularly onions, garlic, leeks, eggplant and chives
• Green Tea
• Cottage cheese
When we are more mindful that everything we put in our mouth is information for our body and ultimately determines our overall, it can encourage healthier habits. Understanding that our nutrition contributes to our energy and the level at which we can function will often drive us to focus on foods that will feed our health, rather than hinder it. Our bodies are actually quite good at keeping everything in balance when fed a healthy diet, and sends signs and signals when things start to get out of whack. Are you listening?