A healthy gut may not mean you’re in perfect shape, but an unhealthy one definitely points to illness and health conditions. Here in our Atlanta, GA gym we encourage healthy eating to ensure not only overall good health but maintaining the proper balance of bacteria, microbes and yeast in your digestive tract. You’re never alone. You have over 40 trillion bacteria, single-celled organisms and fungi with you at all times. They’re in your gut doing thousands of chemical changes. When you consider that if you counted all the genes in the average person’s body, you would come up with over two trillion. Only 22,000 are yours, the rest belong to the microbes in your body. Some are on your skin, but most live in your digestive system.
The gut microbes help you digest food, but do so much more.
While they do help to digest food you can’t digest on your own, they also do other things in your body, like defend you from disease. They even produce neurotransmitters, which play a significant role in how you feel, such as GABA, dopamine and serotonin. Some scientists believe that based on the critters living in your digestive system, it can increase the risk of ADHD, schizophrenia, chronic fatigue syndrome and obsessive-compulsive compulsive disorder.
There are signs that you may not have the healthiest balance of microbes.
A healthy balance and good gut health is important to a wide range of health conditions. It can contribute to depression, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome. If you have bloating or gas, it may be a sign that you have a microbial imbalance. Sugar cravings are another, since bacteria and especially yeast can give off proteins that increase food cravings. People suffering from chronic halitosis may or may not have a problem. It can stem from the digestive system or bacteria in the mouth Food sensitivities or allergies are another sign.
Create a better balance with a healthier diet.
Some of your digestive flora will flourish based on what you eat, while others won’t. Not all the bacteria, fungi and other microbes in your digestive tract are friendly. If you’re eating unhealthy foods, they tend to flourish and kill of the good guys. Sugar feeds bad bacteria and fungi, while healthy whole foods feed the good guys. Fiber is important to good bacteria, too. In fact, it’s critical to gut health, yet the vast majority of Americans get less than the critical amount of 25 to 30 grams a day.
- Antibiotics kill off the helpful bacteria, just as glyphosate and other pesticides and environmental factors do. Organic fruits and vegetables, plus fermented foods can help restore some of the bacteria balance.
- Every time you eat you’re feeding someone. If your food is processed, high in sugar or unhealthy fat, you’re feeding the microbes that can cause chronic inflammation.
- Prebiotics are as important as probiotics. Prebiotics feed the probiotic bacteria that take residence in the gut. Eating a diet high in fiber from fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes or whole grain helps.
- If you take probiotics for gut health, they’re most effective and have the highest survival rate through the stomach when taken 30 minutes before a meal or with a meal that had some fat. Think full fat yogurt!