It is fairly common these days for people to refer to having a healthy gut but what exactly is gut health and why is it so important? I am guessing most people have heard the term gut health or come across something to do with gut health over the recent years. It has been one of the latest crazes going on in the world of health, one I find incredibly interesting. Once upon a time, it used to be quicker for me to list what I could eat rather than what I couldn’t because my digestion was so sensitive resulting in me having a lot of foods eliminated from my diet. So, naturally, I became very obsessed with the ideas behind gut health to try and heal my stomach. It soon became fairly clear to me that this was something a great deal of people are struggling with, whether they have food sensitivities or not, a lot of people show signs that they do not have the greatest balance inside their gut.
So, what is it all about? Well, to start with, a healthy gut contains beneficial bacteria and immune cells that protect against infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi which is why it is so critical to overall wellness. A healthy stomach also communicates with the brain via neurons and hormones, which contributes to overall health and well-being. Your gut health can affect a long list of things, not just things like gas and bloating, but also things like your mood, mental health, skin rashes, sleep, energy, cravings, the list goes one and on.
In its simplest form, when it comes to maintaining excellent gut health, there are two important elements to consider. Probiotics and prebiotics. Eating a variety of probiotics and prebiotics will be what helps to ensure that your gut bacteria has a nice balance. You really have a whole village of different bacteria in your gut, trillions of different bacteria. It is quite fascinating really. The book ‘Gut’ by Guillia Enders has been one of my favourties to learn about these things.
Probiotics are any type of live beneficial bacteria or yeasts that are useful to the body, particularly the digestive system. They provide a wide range of benefits for the body. By and large, bacteria are seen as potentially hazardous and disease-causing entities in the eyes of the general population. Microbes, on the other hand, can be both beneficial and toxic, and they live in your body. A probiotic is a sort of helpful bacteria that is beneficial to your digestive system since it helps to keep it healthy.
Probiotics can be found in a few different foods that have been fermented. Such as, yogurt, kefir, kimchi, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut and pickles. There is a great deal of products on the market now claiming to be good for your gut, not all are actually doing that job. The key is to look at the ingredients. You want things with minimal ingredients, this just means there is less chances of added preservatives and other ingredients that take away from the effects of the good stuff. Or, alternatively, you could make your own. There is a great brand called ‘Kultered Wellness’ who’s products I really love for making my own fermented food and drinks.
Prebiotics are the food for the probiotics, dietary ingredients that stimulate the growth or activity of helpful microorganisms like bacteria. Prebiotics can modify the composition of organisms in the gut microbiome, which is the most typical example. Simply put, they promote the growth of "good" microbes.
Prebiotics can be found in foods such as, legumes, beans, and peas, whole-grain foods, oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, leeks, and onions. Also, things that have something called resistant starch are really great food for your bacteria. These are things like potatoes and rice that have been cooked and then cooled down. They can be reheated or eaten cold. The way the food changes in the cooking and cooling process changes the starches and is a great source of food to help those good bacteria flourish.
What about supplements? While there are a variety of supplements in the market that claim to contain prebiotics and probiotics, it is always advisable to consume prebiotics and probiotics through a healthy diet rather than through supplements. Your gut health will not survive if you rely on artificial means to maintain it for an extended period. You will be naturally making a life-altering decision if you learn to eat wisely and choose foods that are high in both fiber and probiotics. This will allow you to maintain a healthy and happy gut. A good supplement can help but like a lot of health products, not all types actually do a great deal. A naturopath is the best person to consult on the right brand of supplements for you.
So, do yourself a favour and enrich your diet with prebiotics and probiotics, it is amazing the feeling when your diet is supporting your gut bacteria and you just have that fresh feeling. Simply put, probiotics are beneficial bacteria, and prebiotics is food for these bacteria. When they work in harmony with each other, the gut remains happy and healthy. So, incorporating health-promoting functional foods, such as those containing prebiotics and probiotics, can help you become a healthier version of yourself. It is important to factor in things like exercise and your stress levels also have an impact on your digestion and gut health. The keys are as simple as the usual keys to nourishing your body. A wide variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, as well as grains and legumes, will promote a healthy belly. Avoiding highly processed, high sugar foods because these foods promote the growth of the bad bacteria and tend to result inyou feeling not so fresh. What is one thing you can do this week to support your gut health?