The microbes in our gut out number our human cells ten to one. We have about 40 trillion microbes, all impacting our health in a variety of ways. Sometimes the mix in our gut can become out of balance (we can have too many pathogenic microbes, and not enough healthy beneficial bacteria to support good health).
Gut microbiota is contributing to our metabolism, how we process foods, assimilation of nutrients, maintenance of the structural integrity of the gut, immune regulation, and protection against pathogens.
The gut influences so many aspects of health:
◦Digestion, IBS, Colitis, Crohn’s
◦Immunity (80% of our immune system is found in the gut)
◦Hormones and neurotransmitters
◦Mental health, mood, depression, anxiety, brain fog (gut brain connection)
◦Skin; acne, psoriasis, eczema etc
◦All autoimmune conditions
Diversity in gut bacteria
Research has shown one of the best ways to improve your health is to improve diversity in gut bacteria. This is because gut bacteria is responsible for so many health related outcomes, but different strains of gut bacteria consume different foods. So in order to encourage diversity in the type of bacteria we have in our gut (and thereby improve health) we need diversity in our diet. When we eat small quantities of lots of different foods, then we encourage those types of bacteria who eat those foods, to flourish.
Eat fermented foods
Fermented foods encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria. These foods are rich in lactobacilli, which is an important bacteria found in a healthy gut. When we have enough beneficial bacteria in the gut, it keeps the bad bacteria in check.
Eat lots of plant foods; including vegetables, fruit, legumes
Not only are plant foods rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, but they’re also rich in fibre. Certain types of beneficial bacteria feed on fibre and it helps them to flourish, particularly prebiotic fibre. Fibre also moves food through the bowel. If our bowels are not functioning properly, if our digestive system is sluggish, then it becomes stagnant causing fermentation, acidity, and encouraging the growth of pathogenic bacteria.
Take targeted probiotics
Probiotics are able to contribute to restoring the microbiome to a healthy state after it has been compromised. They may benefit your health by changing the overall composition of the microbiome. Some studies have shown that probiotics can improve the functioning of certain gut bacteria, as well as the specific types of chemicals they produce. Probiotics seem to work best when they are targeted (based on the types of beneficial bacteria that is found to be low). We can have a greater understanding of the strains of bacteria in our gut through functional stool testing.
If you’re interested to learn more about the mix of bacteria in your gut through stool testing, then make time to see our South Yarra naturopath, Camberwell naturopath, or speak to us online via zoom.
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Yvette is a qualified Melbourne-based Naturopath and Nutritionist, MINDD Practitioner, member of the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia, and Complementary Medicine Association. Yvette specialises in the treatment of digestive complaints, skin issues, mood disorders, hormonal concerns, fatigue, and also has a key interest in children’s digestive and neurological conditions. Click HERE to book your free discovery call online, Australia-wide.
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