Having a healthy gut is very important to your overall health. The good news is that you can do a variety of things to ensure healthy digestion. Most people are unaware of the fact that digestive issues can lead to many other health concerns. Most physicians have grown to understand these concerns and want to pass this knowledge on to their patients.
Dr. Mark Hyman stated, “Most of us (including most doctors) do not recognize or know that digestive problems wreak havoc in the entire body, leading to allergies, arthritis, autoimmune disease, rashes, acne, chronic fatigue, mood disorders, autism, dementia, cancer, and more.”
That is a lengthy list of concerns that can be directly related to an unhealthy gut. You may not see how these health concerns can relate to your gut, but studies have shown a direct correlation. As you can see, digestive health is something that should be taken very seriously. When it comes to your overall health and wellness, you can never underestimate the importance of taking care of every part of your body—including your gut.
So, what exactly is gut health? Gut health is more than just healthy digestion and absorption of food. Take a closer look to see exactly what all it entails. You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that there are things that you can do to help ensure your overall gut health.
Bacteria in Your Gut – Good or Bad?
Most people see bacteria as a hazard to the body. After all some bacteria can do a wide array of damage. Bacteria is actually not as bad as people think it is, or at least the right types of bacteria isn’t. Some people aren’t aware of the amount of bacteria in a person’s gut—both healthy and unhealthy. You will want to have the perfect balance of bacteria to ensure a healthy gut. After all, if you have too many bad bacteria or not enough good bacteria, your health could be at risk.
Bad bacteria include various parasites and forms of yeast. Good bacteria include lactobacillus and bifidobacteria, among many others. Bad bacteria, known as pathogenic bacteria, are very harmful to the gut. They work to fight against the good bacteria and try to take over the gut and use up space and food that are needed by the good bacteria. These harmful bacteria can cause a lot of problems with digestion, including bloating, constipation, and gas. Generally, they come from certain foods that you eat.
Hyman writes, “There are bugs in your gut that form a diverse and interdependent ecosystem like a rainforest. In fact, there are 500 species and three pounds of bacteria in your gut which form a HUGE chemical factory that helps you digest your food, regulate hormones, excrete toxins, and produce vitamins and other healing compounds that keep your gut and your body healthy.”
So, how do you go about creating a healthy ecosystem for your gut? The key lies in probiotics.
The Benefits of Probiotics
Now that you are aware of the need for good bacteria in your gut, how can you go about ensuring that you have enough? Taking probiotics can be a great way to promote healthy bacteria in your gut. There are some foods that are naturally probiotic, but most people find that probiotic supplements are the best way to ensure that they get enough.
According to Harvard Health, “Since the mid-1990s, clinical studies have established that probiotic therapy can help treat several gastrointestinal ills, delay the development of allergies in children, and treat and prevent vaginal and urinary infections in women.”
Probiotics have a variety of benefits for the human body. They have been shown to help treat diarrhea in infants and children, especially when the diarrhea was induced by an antibiotic. They have also been shown to help treat people who suffer from Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
Probiotics are considered safe, as they are already found in the digestive system. The problem is that sometimes there are not enough in the digestive system. This is especially true after a round of antibiotics. Anytime you take antibiotics, it is important to counteract them with probiotics to ensure that the healthy bacteria in your gut are not wiped out.
How it Relates to Your Immune System Health
The truth is that your gut and your immune system go hand in hand. In fact, 80 percent of the immune system is found in the gastrointestinal tract. As Hyman stated, “The health of your gut determines what nutrients are absorbed and what toxins, allergens, and microbes are kept out.”
Keeping out harmful toxins, allergens, and microbes is essential when it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system. Since the majority of your immune system is in the digestive tract, it makes perfect sense to focus on your gut health in order to improve your immunity.
Healthy Foods to Eat
If you want to promote good gut health, you will want to adopt some healthy nutritional habits. You should start by including foods that will help to remove the bad bacteria from your gut. Then, you will want to choose foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria. Finally, you want to make sure that you can repopulate your gut with good bacteria after they have been depleted.
Here are a few common herbs that are used to help remove bad bacteria and yeast:
- Berberine sulfate, which helps to stimulate the immune system for self-cleansing.
- Oregano extract, which helps to get rid of unwanted bacteria that could be harmful.
- Pau d’Arco, which helps to get rid of candida yeast.
Here are a few common foods that can help to support growth and repopulation of good bacteria:
- Raw yogurt, sour cream and cottage cheese that contain live and active cultures
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