Did you know there are more clever little microbes residing in your gut than there are humans on this planet?
In fact, your body is estimated to contain around 100 trillion bacteria, which can weigh up to 2kg (that’s weight equivalent to a 2L bottle of water!)
Many of these are fundamental to our health and well-being but some can be harmful. The balance of functional and disease-causing bacteria is crucially important for health.
We all have our own unique microbiome, very much like a fingerprint, but it can easily be disrupted by several factors such as:
- Medication and antibiotic use
- The diet we choose to consume
- Our environmental toxins in our home, school, offices, cars, and air we breathe
- Our emotional health and any trauma we experience
Beneficial bacteria play an important role in the immune system; between 70 and 80% of our immune cells reside in the gut and the bacteria here work synergistically as part of this defensive ecosystem.
Beneficial bacteria help with the absorption of nutrients via the gut wall and support the production of B vitamins and Vitamin K. These clever microbes reinforce the gut-brain connection – emerging research in the field of mental health & related conditions are linking anxiety, depression, autism, and hyperactivity to alterations in the gut microflora.
How to nurture a healthy balance of good bacteria
Feed the good – A diet rich in wholefoods, fruit, and vegetables particularly prebiotic foods: asparagus, bananas, onions, garlic, cabbage, chicory root, dandelion greens, beans & lentils, artichokes, root vegetables and apples.
Eat a diverse range of plant foods a week – aim for 30 at least, 40 is better! When you’re totting up how many fruits and veggies you have had don’t forget that herbs, spices, nuts and seeds count too.
Starve the bad – Avoid sugar, alcohol, caffeine, refined and processed foods as these can feed the unhealthy organisms.
Include probiotic- rich foods – Live yoghurt is good but fermented foods such as kefir, kimchi, tempeh, natto, lassi, sauerkraut and kombucha naturally contain high levels.
Antibiotics wipe out the good and the bad bacteria so be sure to follow up with a high strength probiotic supplement to replenish your beneficial gut microflora.