The Importance Of Looking After Your Gut

Our health starts from within and specifically in the gut.  You may be aware that the body contains good bacteria and bad guys (bugs) and that we need the good guys to keep us healthy. What you may not know is that the latest research shows that the average male has about 40 trillion bacteria, most of which reside in his digestive tract. That is a lot of bugs right!  Microbiome is the collective term used for this gut flora or internal eco system and it needs to be kept in balance.

There is a lot of focus now on gut health and rightly so as this microbiome is crucial in determining our health. It influences our immunity, energy levels, hormones and also our mood which is why the gut is often called the second brain as Scientists have found that gut bacteria produces neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA, all of which play a major role in mood.

In today’s environment we are susceptible to viruses, toxins and parasites. Top that with the standard processed, sugar loaded high carb diet and perhaps even the use of over the counter drugs, antibiotics and our gut flora is definitely going to be out of balance.

Here are some simple tips that will go a long way towards keeping your gut healthy and happy:

  • Clean up your diet. A diet that is depleted in nutrients will make all the bad bacteria that may lead to a yeast overgrowth. Eat real foods that are high in fibre such as vegetables (particularly green leafy veg), beans, nuts, seeds, and healing wholegrains such as buckwheat, quinoa and millet..
  • Remove any food that you have an intolerance to from your diet.
  • Always take a good quality probiotic after any course of antibiotics.
  • Add fermented foods to your diet such as kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha. These are really powerful in terms of feeding the good bacteria.
  • Stay hydrated and make sure that the bowel moves minimum once daily by ensuring you have adequate fibre in the diet.
  • Stress plays havoc on the gut so reduce your stress load for a healthy gut. Take time out for your meals and eat mindfully. Spend time with loved ones and try to get some fresh air and exercise daily.
A gut friendly breakfast

If you can tolerate dairy, try a large dollop of a good live(bio) natural yoghurt (supplement with coconut yoghurt if you are lactose intolerant). Add some fresh or frozen berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and a mix of nuts and seeds, a tablespoon of psyllium husk and sprinkle with raw coconut for a balanced gut friendly breakfast.

The yoghurt is a live cultured probiotic, psyllium and seeds such as flaxseed and pumpkin provides soluble fibre. The seeds also contain zinc which is healing for the gut wall and the coconut had caprylic acid which is an anti fungal.

Revised estimates for the number of human and bacteria cells in the body Ron Sender, Shai Fuchs, Ron Milo