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Did you know that your gut bacteria has a profound affect on your overall well-being? Well it does, which is why looking after it, is an essential attribute of what you chew.
The billions of bacteria (about 1.5kg) that live inside our bodies are called the microbiome – we all develop different microbial communities depending upon our genes, diets and any other bacteria we come into contact with. Over 95% of our bacteria live in our gut, mainly in our large intestine. Together they help regulate our immune system, our weight, and can also affect our mood.
Unfortunately, many of us do not have a healthy gut microbiome. In the short term, the implications of this are not too much really, mainly because it leads to things like food intolerances, but doesn’t kill you.
However over the long term, the implications of generalised inflammation are more serious and can lead to an increased risk of developing a host of chronic diseases including; type II diabetes, obesity, asthma, and so forth. It also leads to the not so obvious inflammatory bowel diseases including colitis, chrone’s and different types of cancer. And we see this reflected in the explosion of chronic disease rates the world over.
So why do many of us have such unhealthy guts? There are lots of reasons, but much of it has to do with what you eat…
The problem with processed foods:
To look after our gut microbiome, we really need to do two main things:
a) Maintain a diverse array of bacteria in our gut. Tasty, interesting, varied food is the way to go.
b) Eat foods which end up in our large intestine – You need to have the fibre to feed the bacteria.
Unfortunately, in today’s fast paced and ever time poor way of living, processed foods seem to have replaced a healthy and balanced diet. Here’s the problem; if we are eating processed foods, then;
a) We are not feeding our microbes, so our gut ecosystem becomes less diverse. This is because most processed foods are all the same – high in sugar, salt, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives and contain no beneficial bacteria. It’s essentially dead food. And,
b) Processed or sugary foods are usually absorbed into the body before they even make it to the large intestine, meaning they starve our healthy gut bacteria whilst feeding the bad bacteria.
How to look after your gut:
Your microbiome somewhat settled within the first 3 years of life, and broadly speaking you inherent it from your mum. The good news is that you can change what lives in your gut and you do this by changing what you eat. There are lots of foods which provide the nutrients which those little microbes need.
If you would like to drastically improve the health of your gut, including understanding the difference between Pre-biotics and Pro-biotics, the best foods/diet to improve your gut bacteria and much more, then join my revolutionary online holistic health and fitness program at www.holistichealthfitness.com