Welcome back gut lovers.
Let’s talk about what can DAMAGE and what can HEAL our gut microbiome. If you read the last blog we talked about the importance of maintaining healthy gut bacteria for our immune system. So how can we do that?
Most traditional cultures throughout history have regularly consumed fermented foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, which feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut. While the trend for fermented foods is on the rise, the majority of us in western cultures still tend to consume foods that don’t aid in keeping our gut bacteria balanced.
So, what can DAMAGE our gut microbiome?
- Antibiotics – antibiotics can have a devastating effect on beneficial gut bacteria in the human body, not only in the gut but in other organs and tissues. Take antibiotics only when they are necessary. Remember, antibiotics don’t help if you have a virus, such as colds or the flu.
- Diet – What we eat has a direct effect on the composition of our gut flora. A modern diet of convenience rather than nutrition, full of processed foods, has a serious detrimental effect on the gut flora. Too many sugary and processed carbohydrates increase a number of different fungi, Candida in particular.
- Disease – Different infectious diseases like typhoid, Hepatitis B, Lymes disease, salmonella and some viral infections can cause lasting damage to the gut. Chronic illness such as diabetes, auto-immune disease, and endocrine disease are accompanied by serious defects in the gut flora.
- Stress – Short or long term physical and psychological stress can do permanent damage to the gut flora.
What can HEAL our gut microbiome, our immune system and our overall health?
- Diet – Eat whole foods; consume healthy meals which include lots of fruits and vegetable and unrefined foods. Aim to remove all refined sugars and processed grains which feed the “bad” bacteria. Eat naturally fermented foods daily like sauerkraut, kefir, natural yoghurt and take a probiotic supplement when needed. Probiotic supplements contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria and “seed” the gut – an important part of finding balance.
- Increase Sleep – allow your body to shut down, reset, and recharge. A minimum of 7 hours sleep a night is best. And get to bed before well before 12am as our most beneficial hours of sleep are between 10pm and midnight.
- Reduce Stress – Take a walk through nature, walk the dog, meditate, play your favourite sport or do low intensity exercise like yoga, tai chi or qi gong.
“A well-functioning gut with healthy gut flora holds the roots of our health. Just as a tree with sick roots is not going to thrive, the rest of the body cannot thrive without a well-functioning digestive system,” Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD.