How to improve your gut health

How to improve your gut health

The gut microbiome consists of a combination of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes, which play an important role in our overall health. Some of these microbes are harmful to our health and others are beneficial and necessary. A healthy gut microbiome consists of a good balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria. By working in symbiosis together, they help control digestion, support a healthy immune system, and regulate energy levels and mood.

Lifestyle factors such as poor diet, alcohol and medications can affect the delicate balance of bacteria in the gut and reduce the numbers of good bacteria. When disruptions like this occur, it can lead to gut inflammation and the release of harmful metabolites and toxins in the body. This may have negative impacts on our overall health and increase the risk of diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and obesity.

There are a number of steps you can take to maintain a healthy gut microbiome and improve your overall health.

  1. Probiotics and prebiotics

    Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that support a healthy digestive system and are often referred to as “friendly bacteria”. Probiotics are commonly added to foods such as yoghurt, or taken as supplements, to help restore or improve the balance of bacteria in the gut. As the healthy bacteria in the gut play such a crucial role in our overall health, probiotics may help improve mental health, reduce cholesterol, help treat digestive disorders, and boost the immune system. 

    Prebiotics are different from probiotics. They are a form of fibre that the body cannot digest, which provides food for the good gut bacteria, helping them grow and thrive. Foods that contain prebiotics include vegetables, fruit, and high-fiber foods such as oats, onions, bananas and beans.

    Improve the health of your gut microbiome by taking our probiotic supplements.

  2. Avoid unhealthy foods

    Diet and gut health are very closely linked. An unhealthy diet consisting of large quantities of processed, high-fat and high-sugar foods promotes the growth of harmful bacteria and damages the good bacteria in the gut. Disturbances like this can negatively impact our health and can also promote cravings of unhealthy food, further perpetuating the problem. Eating a healthy, well balanced diet that is rich in fibre, fermented foods and fruit and vegetables can promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Research suggests a varied diet can contribute to a more diverse microbiome, which is necessary for good health. 

  3. Eat fruit, vegetables and legumes

    Fruit, vegetables, beans and legumes are high in fibre which feed the good bacteria in the gut, stimulating their growth. Apples, artichokes, blueberries, almonds, and pistachios have been shown to increase levels of the beneficial bacteria, Bifidobacteria, which can help reduce intestinal inflammation and improve overall digestive health. Other high-fibre foods which support a healthy gut include raspberries, broccoli, chickpeas, lentils and bananas.

  4. Eat fermented foods 

    Fermented foods are becoming increasingly popular for their incredible benefits on gut health. These are foods that have undergone fermentation, a process where yeast and bacteria break down sugars, giving them their unique taste. Fermented foods, including yoghurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and kombucha, contain large amounts of the good bacteria lactobacilli. One study shows that people who eat large amounts of yoghurt have higher levels of lactobacilli in their intestines and less enterobacteriaceae, a type of bad bacteria which contributes to gut inflammation and disease. 

Looking after your gut microbiome is important for maintaining your overall physical and mental health. By eating a healthy, well-balanced and varied diet, consisting of plenty of fibre-rich and fermented foods, and taking daily probiotic supplements, you can help promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut and keep the bad bacteria at bay. 

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