Gut Bacteria is the new black

Tamie Cleaver | November 23 2016

Gut bacteria is the new black, super cool, suits every shape and size, it can even make you look skinny!

Discussions on gut bacteria are popping up all over the place, debating its health benefits, disease preventing properties, and its contribution toward combating depression.

The importance of a healthy gut, packed full of healthy happy gut bacteria, becomes evident when you understand that 80% of the body’s immune system is found in the gut.

It’s a pretty epic job being an immune system, you’re in a constant battle to keep the body alive and well, fighting off infections, viruses, bad bacteria, you’re even battling cancer cells. All with so little fuss, the human you’re protecting is barely even aware of the war you’re waging on their microscopic enemies.

Ironically, you only really become aware of your gut bacteria when it’s no longer functioning properly. The first you’ll know of this is when your immune system breaks down and you start getting sick. Those relentless cycles of cold and flu, that sore throat, digestive issues, feeling over stressed. Even seemingly innocuous problems like bad skin, all signs that there’s an issue with your immune system.  Then there’s the big stuff, our immune system keeps our cells in check, unregulated cells mutate, which can lead to the development of cancer cells.

So why do we treat our gut bacteria, the home of our immune system, so badly? It’s because we don’t fully understand how it works.

So here’s a quick guide to get you jump started towards a healthy gut.

You inherit your gut bacteria from your mother. You pick it up as you descend down the birthing canal and also from breast milk. Often babies who are born by caesarean or aren’t breast fed have problems with their immune system from day one, including developing allergies early in life. The good news is that we can re stock our gut bacteria, we can also repair and improve it, this is where pro and prebiotics come in to play.  

Probiotics are what give your gut the good bacteria. Imagine they are the sapling you plant to grow good gut bacteria. Prebiotics are what feed the good bacteria, nourishment to support its growth.

It is actually that simple.

Now, there are a few major things we’re doing wrong by our immune system. Firstly we’ve forgotten where it comes from; secondly we’ve forgotten how to feed it. Most worryingly, we’re killing it off. Antibiotics kill all bacteria with no discrimination between good and bad. We all understand the need for antibiotics, some bacterial infections are downright deadly and need to be dealt with, but we’re taking them too regularly, and often unnecessarily. When we do take them we’re not taking precautions to replace then feed the good bacteria that’s left, we’re not getting our immune system back on track. You can see the cycle of harm here, we take antibiotics to kill infection, which weakens our immune system leaving us vulnerable to infection…..and so on.  Antibiotics are also in our food, fed to farm animals to keep them alive in sometimes dubious conditions, and once they’re in farm animals, they’re in our food chain.

So, here’s what you do, you need to get probiotics and prebiotics into your diet on a regular basis. It’s as simple as incorporating a mixture of a few simple foods into your weekly food plan. Try these for starters, I guarantee you’ll look and feel 10 years younger in no time.  

gut-health-probiotics-prebiotics

Probiotic Foods

Kefir
Sauerkraut
Kimchi
Kombutcha
Raw Cheeses
Miso
Sourdough Bread
Tempeh
Pickled Gherkins

Prebiotic Foods

Chicory
Garlic
Spring onion
Leeks
Onions
Jerusalem Artichoke
Dandelion Greens
Avocado
Peas
Apple Cider Vinegar
Asparagus
Bananas

Generally if you eat a diet high in dietary fibre, your gut will love you, plus, as a nice added bonus, bad bacteria cannot process prebiotics, so you’re only doing good for your body by eating them.

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