Easy Steps for a Happy Gut
Today, we know that our gut flora, a microbiome population as it is also known as, has a huge impact on our health and our risk of disease. In fact, leading researchers in the field say they can get much more information about your health from assessing your gut flora than some other tests. Each one of us is host to about a pound-and-a-half of gut bacteria made up of over 600 different bacterial families (with each family often having dozens of bacterial strains). The more diverse our gut bacteria population is, the better for our health. A small and limited variety of gut bacteria increases the risk of autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and obesity.
There are several ways to improve the makeup of your gut flora. Read on to find out more.
A second brain
Because some gut bacteria affect the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, the composition of our gut bacteria also has an effect on our mood, which has a knock-on effect on conditions such as depression and anxiety, to name just a couple.
Inflammation caused by allergies or food intolerances can also affect gut flora. Sometimes, you may not be aware of these issues until you get a test. In this case, consider a food intolerance test from the likes of Intolerance Lab. This way you can eliminate certain foods from your diet if something comes back positive. If it returns as negative, you can continue to enjoy the foods you prefer to eat.
Intestinal bacteria also produce important vitamins and important enzymes, such as vitamin K2, which is important for building bones and the enzyme myrosinase. This is important for fighting off cancer and you can find this in something as simple as broccoli, for example.
Food for thought
There are many studies on bacteria and how it can greatly impact your gut health in the long term. Researchers have found that the more varied a person’s diet is in whole foods such as fruits and vegetables of various kinds, the greater the diversity of intestinal flora. Conversely, the greater the consumption of sugar, both refined sugar and that contained in snacks such as cookies, chocolate, and fizzy drinks etc., the smaller the variety is. Sugar, in any form (except fruit), can harm and disrupt the gut. Excessive consumption can easily lead to serious health issues like diabetes.
Getting a grip on your gut flora is relatively straightforward. Three of the best steps you can take are to manage your stress levels effectively, increase the level of gut flora-friendly food in your diet, and stay well hydrated. Not only will this improve your gut flora, you’ll reap other health benefits, too.
To manage stress, consider adding in stress-busting activities into your daily routine, such as exercise, meditation, and a bit of pampering. High stress levels not only have a physiological effect on our bodies, they make us more likely to binge on food that isn’t great for the gut.
When it comes to food, whole foods are best. Steer clear of highly processed foods and cut down the alcohol. Lastly, monitor your liquid intake to make sure you’re staying well-hydrated; the bacteria in your gut will thank you for it.
Here are some recipe ideas to start a healthier lifestyle: