We read and hear a lot about it these days and rightly so, the health of our gut influences a great many elements of our overall health and wellbeing.
The balance of our gut microbiome has a direct impact on key bodily functions and systems. Digestion, mood, immune system, weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, inflammation and blood pressure are all impacted by the balance of “good and bad bacteria” in our intestine.
Research suggests that gut bacteria affect our brain health too, so by positively changing our gut bacteria balance we may actually be able to improve our brain health.
Not only do we know more about the power of a healthy gut from research conducted but this information actually has a great deal more relevance to us these days. With increased use of antibiotics (which aren’t good for the balance of our gut bacteria) and increased accessibility of processed and high sugar foods, our diets include more items that fuel the bad bacteria and reduce the good bacteria that help to keep us healthy. According to healthline.com, “a diet high in processed foods and added sugars can decrease the amount of good bacteria in the gut.”
There are a lot of pre and probiotics for sale to assist with the development and maintenance of a healthy gut but these do come at a price and with varying levels of quality. I’m not an expert so cannot recommend which are the ones worth seeking out, however, as with vitamins and minerals it is usually best to aim to get our quota through our food wherever we can. Did you know that there are a lot of natural pre and probiotics that you probably already eat or can easily include in your diet?
These are live microorganisms that have health benefits once consumed. They are usually beneficial bacteria that can provide benefits to the body and brain.
Some probiotics have even been shown to improve symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.
Probiotics in the following (but not limited to):
Kefir (Milk & water-based)
Kimchi & fermented vegetables
Some cheese, including Gouda, mozzarella, cheddar and cottage cheese.
These are types of dietary fibre that feed the friendly bacteria in our gut.
Prebiotics in the following (but not limited to):
So if you think your gut could do with a boost why not have a look at these lists and see where you could up your intake of tummy health-promoting foods?!