If you want to live a healthy life, you need a healthy gut.
Imagine jumping out of bed in the morning with energy.
Imagine socializing with friends bloat-free and eating whatever you want.
A healthy gut may allow you to feel all this and more.
Over 100 years ago, scientists discovered that bacteria in the gut provided health benefits.
People in the regions of Russia and Bulgaria ate large amounts of fermented foods, rich in bacteria. They lived the longest compared to other cultures.
Researchers believed that gut bacteria had anti-aging properties.
And today, scientists understand how important these gut bugs are.
Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle does not support a healthy gut.
Many people have dysbiosis. This is a decline in beneficial gut bacteria and an increase in harmful organisms.
Recent studies show that poor lifestyle decreases microbes in the gut.
Many diseases are associated with dysbiosis, which is why probiotics and fermented foods are becoming more popular.
Foods like sauerkraut, kefir, spicy kimchi and kombucha beverages are in high demand.
Did you know that probiotics are the fastest growing supplement worldwide?
Anyone who wants a healthy gut needs to know the importance of ‘good’ bacteria.
An unhealthy gut can lead to a myriad of health issues:
- weight gain
- food cravings
- skin problems
- compromised intestinal permeability
- autoimmune conditions
- chronic pain
Here’s what I recommend to my patients to help them achieve a healthy gut:
Step One – high potency, multi-strain probiotics
Probiotics are not all created equal.
Different doses are available based on individual needs. A variety of probiotic strains are necessary to increase diversity in the gut.
Bacterial diversity is key because different strains have different jobs in the body.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus is particularly helpful for women who are prone to yeast infections. Another species is Bifidobacterium bifidum which is recommended for constipation.
Most of my patients take one probiotic capsule per day.
Step Two – aim for a total of 30-40 grams of fiber per day
Doctors have been recommending fiber for years. Fiber helps with bowel regularity, lowering cholesterol, and balancing hormones. Fiber-rich foods are prebiotics. Prebiotics feed gut bacteria.
And fiber is particularly important for women who have excess estrogen.
When fiber is fermented in the colon by bacteria, short chain fatty acids are produced. The fatty acids (acetate, propionate, and butyrate) act as fuel for the colon cells.
Short chain fatty acids play a role in carbohydrate and fat metabolism.
The following types of fibre are known as prebiotics and act as fuel for beneficial gut bacteria – inulin, fructooligosaccharides (FOS), pectin, and guar gum.
Prebiotic-rich foods include:
Step Three – exercise daily for a minimum of 30 minutes to maintain a healthy gut
Exercise positively impacts gut health by increasing the number of butyrate producing bacteria, reducing intestinal transit time and lessening gut inflammation.
We are in the early stages of understanding how exercise changes gut microbial communities. That being said, microbial diversity in obese individuals is different than non-obese individuals.
One research study compared athletes to healthy controls and observed that athletes had greater diversity of species in their gut.
I hope you are empowered to take good care of your gut.
Because as you now know, a healthy gut is the foundation to a healthy life!