We’ve all been cleaning like crazy over the last few weeks to make sure our homes and hands are free of every possible microorganism that exists. Whilst in some circumstances this is a good thing in terms of digestive health it is not necessarily so good. Today’s article will help you to understand your digestive system, learn why bacteria is good for it and give some simple, natural steps to help improve your digestive health.
Living within our colon are somewhere in the region of 500 different kinds of bacteria. Many of them help our bodies perform essential functions such as:
- helping to metabolise fats and proteins
- synthesis of vitamin K and some B vitamins
- helping our immune systems
When our gut bacteria is unbalanced many issues can occur such as:
- acid reflux
- irritable bowel
- ulcerative colitis
- and also have an impact on areas outside of the digestive system such as heart health and even brain health.
Modern lifestyles are not gut friendly – stress, modern diets and insufficient exercise put a massive strain on our digestive system and the good bacteria that live there.
Here are 6 things that you can do to improve your digestive health
- Eat a diet high in fibre – especially fruit and vegetables. Fibre has been found to be vital to have a thriving gut bacteria population and some interesting studies have been conducted to show this by Andrew T. Gewirtz of Georgia State University and Dr. Bäckhed[i]
- Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables – not just the same ones over and over. Eating the fruits and vegetables that are currently in season will help you eat a wider variety.
- Eliminate or minimise refined sugar. Sugar feeds the “bad” bacteria and if these grow too prolifically the good bacteria can become over run and be left with nowhere to live.
- Eat seaweed – according to an article in the World Journal of Gastroenterology [ii] eating seaweed can increase the amount of Bifidobacterium found in the gut
- Eat fermented food – we once ate a significant amount of fermented food but this is now a largely forgotten practice. These foods include yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar and sauerkraut. The fermentation process creates huge amounts of the bacteria needed by our digestive system. These foods can help with a variety of digestive disorders such as diarrhoea, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease and potentially a range of other health issues.[iii]
- Take a pre and probiotic supplement. This is especially important if you have taken anti-biotics. Whilst anti-biotics are good for getting rid of an infection they do not discriminate between good and bad bacteria so it is very important to take a probiotic after anti-biotics to replace the good bacteria. If you are having any digestive problems this is also a sign that there is an imbalance between good and bad bacteria in your digestive system.
Probiotics can reduce digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, pain, diarrhoea, and constipation. They can also help in the digestion of carbohydrates and aid with the production of certain vitamins. Probiotics can also help reduce the symptoms of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Supplements vary widely in quality and after working with digestive issues since the start of my career as a nutritionist, (looking to solve my own digestive issues are what lead me to pursue this career) the pre and probiotic that I ham happiest to recommend is Pure. As well as having seen amazing results with this product it is also very user friendly. Please message me to find out more about Pure and how I can help you to have a happier digestive system.
[iii] medicalnewstoday.com https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325114#benefits