10 week Gut Health series: Part 7
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It’s amazing to consider that there are about 500 different species of bacteria living inside of you. Some are referred to as “good” while others don’t provide obvious benefit. At the moment, science is telling us that the ideal balance between them is 85% good and 15% “other”.
This ratio between good bacteria and other bacteria is critical for determining your optimal health. And when we speak of optimal health, we’re talking about your entire mind and body. Many diseases are exacerbated by or caused by gut problems: diseases and disorders such as allergies, arthritis, autoimmune diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), acne, chronic fatigues, mood disorders, autism, dementia, and cancer. Not to say that all of these diseases are caused by bad gut health, but science shows us that good gut health aids in reducing the effects and sometimes in the prevention of these diseases.
How does good gut health help our immune system?
The gastrointestinal tract (gut) is where we digest and absorb nutrients. If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to view food as medicine.
There are some foods that should be a part of your diet for a healthy gut, and they include:
Prebiotic foods: not to be confused with probiotic, the prebiotic is a specialized plant fiber that nourishes the good bacteria already in the large bowel or colon. While probiotics introduce good bacteria into the gut, prebiotics act as a fertilizer for the good bacteria that’s already there. These foods include good quality yogurts, kefir, sauerkraut, oats and indigestible plant fibers such as dandelion greens, chicory root, garlic, and onions.
Fermented vegetables: sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and tempeh, as well as fermented beverages such as kefir, apple cider vinegar, and kombucha, promote healthy gut bacteria.
Fiber: psyllium husks, chia seeds, and flax seeds aid the bowel functions. Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice – add a tablespoon of either to a glass of water 20 minutes before meals to stimulate digestion and assist the absorption of nutrients.
Foods to avoid include the following:
Poor quality refined carbohydrates and sugars that can be found in pastries, white bread, candy, pasta, table sugar, and soft drinks. These foods feed the bad bacteria in the gut which causes damage to the small intestine and interferes with food digestion. This leads to food sensitivities, allergies, inflammation and a compromised immune system.
Dairy: milk, butter, and cheese are acidic and inflammatory, causing digestive problems like bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Keeping it healthy, keeping your gut healthy, with proper diet, sleep, and stress management will keep your body and mind healthy for years to come.
Keep Bloomin’ in HIM
Next week: 5 Signs Your Microbiome is Out of Balance