Spring is here, and you know what that means? Spring cleaning! Out with the old and in with the new, and all that jazz, right? So, how does this relate to our gut? Unbalanced levels of good and bad bacteria in the gut can mean the difference between living your best life, or a mediocre version.
Our gut is directly linked to every organ in the body, and critical to our overall health. We have approximately 2kg of bacteria in the gut, that's more than all the human cells in the entire body! The good bacteria in the gut determines how well your immune system functions, how clear your skin looks, helps produce vitamins, aids digestion and even influences your mood. If we are overrun by bad bacteria, chaos can reign in the body.
There are multiple factors that can deplete, and even wipe out gut bacteria. These include:
The oral contraceptive pill
Anti-inflammatory and pain medication like paracetamol and neurofen
Eating processed, refined sugar and chemical laden foods
Low levels of good bacteria can cause havoc in the body. So as you can imagine, it is essential we keep the balance right, and build up the good guys.
So how can we do to build up the good "friendly" bacteria in the gut?
Eat whole, unprocessed, fresh foods. If it doesn't come in a packet, eat it.
Fermented foods are probiotic rich and feed the good bacteria. Sources include Kimchi, Saurkraut, Miso, Kombucha, Kefir either coconut derived or dairy (if you can tolerate dairy), Yoghurt either coconut derived or dairy (again, if you can tolerate dairy).
Polyphenols help to feed the short chain fatty acids in the colon that help with tissue repair. Food sources of polyphenols include bluberries, pistachios, green tea, raw apple cider vinegar.
Supplementing with a probiotic supplement to help re-populate the gut.
Eating a nutrient dense, wholefoods diet for just 3 weeks can have a great impact on the integrity of your gut, and give it time to heal. Inflammation should also start to reduce and lessen symptoms like joint pain, skin conditions and improve your mood.
The population of bacteria in your gut is as unique as your fingerprint, this means one size does not fit all. A probiotic supplement that might work for one person, might not feel good to you at all, so make sure you go with your gut (see what I did there), and do what works for you.
Healthy gut = healthy you.