I am sure many of you know how important it is to eat clean and healthy. But why? Is it to improve your immune system? To improve fat loss? Lower high blood pressure? To increase energy? To feel better? How you achieve any of these desired results depends on your gut condition! Did you know that we have 100 trillion bacteria in our digestive tract? Three to seven pounds of “you’ are really bacteria that live in your digestive tracts (from the mouth to the, you know, south).
Your gut is physically THE battleground of your body. Gut flora (another name for gut bacteria), when they are balanced (with good bacteria and bad bacteria), support the following:
- Immunity- protects us from pathogens
- Quality of life
- Production of key nutrients
- Proper extraction of nutrients from food
- Improved skin health and appearance
- Reduced lactose intolerance and food allergy
- Improved bowel function
- Detoxification harmful compounds
- Improved brain-gut axis function (yes, your gut flora can influence brain and behavior and vice versa)
- Energy homeostasis
- Mood regulation
Having read the functions of gut flora, can you imagine what happens when an imbalance occurs? Dysbiosis is defined as microbial imbalance which means you have an ‘overgrowth’ of bad or pathogenic bacteria; more bad guys than good guys. You do not want dysbiosis because, then, it affects every single one of the functions listed above. Do you want to know how I know when I’m out of whack, microbial wise? Irritability and moodiness. Yep, those are the first clues. Gluten is the top gut irritant for me.
What causes gut dysbiosis? Well, number one, poor food choices (from unborn baby stage to current adult stage); then you have stress. Stress alone can influence your gut flora in a negative way no matter how clean you eat and how active you are. Drugs, cigarettes, excess alcohol, medications, ANTIBIOTICS (<-one of the biggest reasons many children and even adults today are very dysbiositic- is that a word?), environmental toxins, exposure to heavy metals or irritants, limited physical activity, genetics, lack of sleep, etc. all trigger microbial imbalance!
To help you understand how the ‘good guys’ work, check out the image below. You may enlarge the image by simply clicking on it.
It’s amazing how they do their job. They secrete antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal chemicals! They form a barrier to hinder invasion of pathogens and yeasts. They control the microenvironment pH level which supports nutrients breakdown, uptake, and absorption. Can you imagine the absence of those ‘green’ probiotics that are all lined up in the image? Prolong absence of these beneficial bacteria in the gut may cause leaky gut syndrome, IBS (Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome) or IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac disease, gastroesophageal reflux, stomach ulcers, autoimmune diseases, and etc.
If you are experiencing health issues of any kind, always start with these five areas: reducing stress in your life, improving your nutrition intake, taking quality supplements (fish oil, Vitamin D, probiotics when needed, etc.), becoming more physically active if you aren’t already, and improving your sleeping habit if necessary. Improve the quality of your mental health by eliminating unnecessary stress factors. Improve your nutrition by opening your mind to learning more about real food and prioritizing your time to prepare nutritionist food especially if you have a busy life. AVOID food that irritates your gut which causes inflammation. More than ninety percent of diseases come from inflammation in the gut. Some of you may not want to hear this, but avoiding grain would do your health wonders. The way grain are being grown today is different as night and day as it was grown thousands of years ago (click here for more info). Grain today are mostly GMO (genetically modified organism), highly processed, and contains WAY too much gluten for our body to handle. Gluten is a pure gut irritant and inflammation inducer. I know MANY people who have turned their health around and rid their autoimmune diseases, even face acne, just by eliminating grain out of their diet; most even lost unnecessary body weight! AVOID processed ‘food’ or junk food, sugary drinks (those bad bacteria in your gut LOVES sugar and multiply quicker with sugar), chemicals, ‘food’ containing a page long ingredient list, and any other man made crap. DO focus on nutritionally dense food such as meat, seafood, eggs (eat the freaking yolks- it’s extremely nutritional for your body), fats, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, and etc. See here for understanding on REAL FOOD. This image below is a great example of how our consumption for optimal health should be.
Ever wonder how hunters gatherers kept their gut healthy way back in time? First off, they eat extremely clean since they had to grow and kill their own food. But did you know they fermented their own vegetables to preserve their vegetables throughout the winter times? Fermented vegetables equal a ton of beneficial bacteria to support their gut! Below is an example of modern day fermented mixed vegetables of my own which I learned to do with a few other moms!
In today’s world, we have access to refrigerator and freezer to preserve our food. For this reason, you may really need to pay closer attention and care for your gut properly. I take this probiotic every other day especially since I’m pregnant with my third baby boy. I will continue to do so while breastfeeding as well. Taking probiotic helps strengthen the baby’s immune system, lowers the baby’s allergy risk, lowers the baby’s risk for obesity, and other various benefits. Click here for more information. Babies are born with a complete sterile gut so it’s extremely important that you support their culturing beneficial gut bacteria. A baby receives bacteria from its mom through the birth canal and through nursing.
If considering taking probiotic, be sure it’s of good quality. The more bacteria strands there are, the better. The one I take has ten different strands and are cultured using LiveBac and Bio-tract which support viability of the probiotics during bottling and digestive process. It’s important that these probiotics are being released in your intestines and not your stomach. Stomach acid will just kill the bacteria.
Hopefully this blog has helped you! If you want to improve the quality of your health or turn your health around for the better, start with your gut because that’s where it all starts.