Takes Guts to Feel Your Best by Dr. Sara Detox Toronto Naturopath
Blog Health + Wellness

Naturopathic Strategies to Maintain a Healthy Gut

You need a healthy gut to live a healthy life.

A healthy gut is rich in good bacteria. In other words, probiotics.

Historically, people in regions of Russia and Bulgaria ate lots of fermented foods. These foods are rich in probiotics. As a result, they lived long and healthy lives compared to other cultures.

As a result of our modern day lifestyle, many people have dysbiosis. To clarify, dysbiosis is an imbalance of microorganisms in the gut.

Recent studies show that stress, antibiotics, and poor nutrition may cause dysbiosis.

Think sauerkraut, kefir, spicy kimchi and kombucha.

An unhealthy gut can lead to many health issues. For example,

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • allergies
  • gas/bloating
  • food cravings
  • skin problems
  • chronic pain

Here’s what I recommend to my patients to help them achieve a healthy gut:

Step One – probiotics

However, probiotics are not all created equal.

A variety of probiotic strains are necessary to increase diversity in the gut. Certainly, potency also matters.

Bacterial diversity is key because different strains have different jobs in the body.

50 billion CFU per day is considered a healthy dose. But some people opt for lower or higher doses.

Step Two – aim for a total of 25-40 grams of fiber per day

Doctors have been recommending fiber for years.

Firstly, fiber helps with bowel regularity.

Fiber is particularly important for women who have excess estrogen (women need 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams).

Secondly, when fiber is fermented in the colon, short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are produced. Examples of SCFAs are acetate, propionate, and butyrate. These act as fuel for colon cells.

Short chain fatty acids play a role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

Prebiotic-rich foods are:

  • artichokes
  • garlic
  • onions
  • leeks
  • asparagus
  • bananas
  • apples
  • apricots
  • legumes

Step Three – exercise daily for 30 minutes to maintain a healthy gut

Exercise is good for gut health. For instance, it increases the number of butyrate producing bacteria. It can help with constipation and it may also lower gut inflammation.

We don’t fully understand how exercise affects the gut. That being said, bacteria in the gut of obese individuals is different than non-obese individuals.

One research study compared athletes to healthy controls. Results showed that athletes had greater gut diversity. In other words, athletes have more good gut bacteria than others.

In short, take good care of your gut. You only have one.

 

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep19032

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23821742

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4783017/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4757670/

Dr.Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and is the Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada. She is a leader in the health and wellness industry and is regularly featured as a sought-after expert on television programs and in health publications. Dr. Sara carries over 15 years experience and her private practice and work in the community is focused on digestive health, detoxification, and women's health.
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