I saw a recent Wall Street Journal article that mentioned how “new” research has begun to “unravel the mystery” of how an unhealthy gut microbiome caused by poor diet or lack of sleep can lead to disease.
I don’t mean to sound cynical, but where have they been?
When you’re talking about the part of your body that houses 70 percent of your immune system and literally affects every other system in your body, it ain’t no mystery that the result of unhealthy changes in that area won’t be pretty.
Here are some of the ways your gut affects your health that was not specifically touched on in this article:
Your gut microbiome breaks down starches and fibers that you eat, thereby reducing gas and bloating and encouraging regular bowel movements.
Better digestion and BMs can also lead to improved blood sugar control and weight loss.
Complete immune protection
As I mentioned above, most of your immune system is in your gut.
In addition to fighting off infections and viruses, your immune system also protects you against diseases like cancer.
Plus having a proper functioning immune system means you are less likely to suffer from allergies, food and environmental sensitivities, asthma and autoimmune conditions.
Having a healthy population of intestinal bacteria helps to enhance your absorption of nutrients from your foods and supplements.
It also helps produce vitamins for you! Your gut flora is directly involved in the production of vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, D and K.
Studies have shown that the beneficial bacteria strains L. acidophilus, L. salivarius and L. casei can slow and even help kill H. pylori (the bacteria that causes most ulcers).
Blood cholesterol control
Friendly bacteria can help reduce blood cholesterol by creating acids that counter excess cholesterol production.
In addition, having regular bowel movements can help your body to better eliminate cholesterol from the intestinal tract (instead of risking reabsorption into your bloodstream).
Each species of bacteria in your gut (both good and bad) has their own “dietary preference.”
Depending on which species has the “upper hand” in your gut at any time, the microbes can influence your food choices and cravings by releasing signaling molecules into your gut.
And the preferred food of harmful bacteria and yeasts is sugar! So if you crave sweets, that’s a sign your gut flora isn’t as healthy as it should be.
Your gut is the starting point for inflammation throughout your body—it’s the “gatekeeper” for your inflammatory responses.
Research has shown that problems in your gut can directly impact your mental health, eventually leading to issues like anxiety and depression.
But the opposite is also true—better, healthier bacteria can help encourage better mental health!
Plus most of your body’s serotonin is manufactured in your gut, so if it’s unable to do its job, depression can result…and all the antidepressants in the world can’t change that.
Take care of your gut, take care of YOU!
The WSJ article went on to say that this recent gut research may “someday” lead to new treatments for obesity, diabetes and other conditions by restoring the health of the intestinal flora through diet and other interventions.
The good news is that “someday” is already here because there are very effective ways that you can enhance the health of your intestinal flora, and help keep it strong for a lifetime!
4 Steps to a healthy gut
1- Remove the bad stuff
Remove, reduce and avoid things that can harm your friendly flora, such as:
- Foods that you are sensitive or allergic to
- Cigarette smoke
- Excessive alcohol (especially beer)
- Refined carbs and sugars
- Processed and fast food
- Acid reducing medications
- Regularly lacking sleep
2- Support the helpful good guys
This involves replacing and supporting your supply of beneficial bacteria, and this is done with a full-spectrum probiotic supplement like Super Shield multi-strain probiotic formula.
Contrary to what you may think, your friendly intestinal inhabitants are not “permanent residents”—they only “vacation” inside of you for about 12 days. So it’s crucial to make sure you consistently help replenish your supply of troops in your protective intestinal army.
Note that Super Shield also contains all three of the H. pylori-fighting bacteria strains I mentioned earlier!
3- Dietary reinforcement
Reinforcing a healthy flora balance means nourishing your friendly flora with gut-loving foods like fresh vegetables and fermented foods.
“Fermented foods” includes sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir (a fermented milk drink that tastes like drinkable yogurt), kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage), and kombucha (a tangy tea-based drink).
Note that soy-based products like tempeh and miso are also fermented foods, but I hesitate to recommend soy because most of the soy grown in the US is now genetically modified.
4- Repair the damage
Omega-3 essential fatty acids have been shown to help support intestinal health and counteract inflammation in all areas of the body.
Omega-3 EFAs are abundant in fatty fish, but since fish is not a regular part of most people’s diets, fish oil supplements like VitalMega-3 are a convenient way to get the Omega-3 EFAs your body so desperately needs.
Treat your gut like the precious gold that it is and it will return the favor handsomely!
To your health,