You might think that getting your gut back on track is about food, diet and good gut bacteria. This is only part of the story. Gut health is also about your overall health, it is easy enough to see that it improves the nutrients delivered to the rest of the body for it to function. We are also now seeing how the health of the rest of the body can impact on gut health.
Why is it not just about food?
Over 70% of our immune system resides in the gut, inflammation due to immune responses can reduce gut bacteria. A review of studies done on stress and its impact on the gut confirms that stress “ultimately disturbs the microbiota”. Lack of sleep can reduce metabolism regulating hormones and slow repair to the body. Sleep is a time when inflammation is reduced and healing is promoted. How you eat can make a difference too. Eating too fast can reduce absorption of nutrients from the food. Chewing slowly is the starting point that helps ensure proper digestion. Eating mindfully without a blaring TV or eating away from your desk can improve both your gut bacteria and mental health. Sufficient water helps break down and digest food, remove toxins from the body, and soften stools. Therefore it becomes important to improve the following in order to improve gut health:
- General health
- Stress management
Balance Gut Bacteria
There has been much research recently on probiotics and prebiotics for improving healthy gut flora. But is healthy gut flora about only good gut bacteria? Our microbiota is ALLthe different microorganisms present in the gut. These microorganisms are sometimes classified as “good” or “bad”, however in reality it is about the balance of these bacteria. To think it is a matter of killing all the “bad” bugs and repopulating with a probiotic is not only simplistic but harmful. These bugs produce metabolites that aid our digestion and our health. The key is balance! And this takes time. Balance of gut bacteria can be aided by reducing unnecessary antibiotic use, eating more vegetables as these are the perfect prebiotic. Probiotics do not replenish gut bacteria on a permanent basis, they stay in the gut an average of a few weeks. However they can be an important part of maintaining health while rebalancing gut bacteria. Using a yeast based probiotic, saccharomyces boulardii, can help with improving your microbiome.
About the food, which diet is right for my gut?
There is no one size fits all solution. What is right for you will depend on your overall health and specific nutritional needs, any food intolerances and also your food preferences. It also depends on any microbiome imbalances and what they are. It may be necessary to test gut function with a stool test in order to identify imbalances in gut microorganisms. That’s a lot to think about! Book in for a consultation and let’s discuss your needs!