The human body contains trillions of microbial cells composed of thousands of different species that are integral to adequate digestion and nutrition. I never gave my digestive health a second thought, however, improving it turned out to be a significant factor in eliminating my joint pain. In our modern society, compromised gut health is common. And, even if you don’t have obvious digestive issues, the health of your microbiome (or lack thereof) is likely a factor in your negative health symptoms.
The health of your gut bacteria can impact you in some of the following ways:
- Your immune system responds to changes in gut bacteria leading to the development of inflammatory disorders.
- Your gut health and sleep cycles are tightly linked. Disruptions to either can intensify your physical symptoms.
- A processed food diet reduces the diversity of gut bacteria and is associated with obesity.
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Hippocrates declared “all disease begins in the gut” 2000 years ago. But our modern society is just now starting to wake up to the realization that our gut health is at the root of the vast increases in chronic disease we are experiencing. But, what can we do to improve our gut health?
We don’t often stop to think about the impact that certain substances or emotions are having on us. Have a look at the following list of key factors that are affecting the health of your gut. Then, identify where you are able to make some changes.
Antibiotics, in particular, are known to disrupt our gut flora. These medications will destroy good and bad bacteria alike leaving the body out of balance. In fact, one study showed changes in gut flora after only one single dose of antibiotics. And, some bacterial species are unable to recover even after 6 months. While antibiotics are clearly indicated in certain circumstances, it is important to avoid them whenever possible; and take adequate probiotic therapy to recover after antibiotic treatment.
Exposure to stress impacts the digestive system and can result in alterations in brain function, difficulty losing weight and the development of digestive disorders. Again, probiotics can help to improve these symptoms. Also, stress management techniques such as meditation, journaling, and deep breathing are key techniques to help you manage the stresses so common in everyday life.
Good nutrition is another key factor for maintaining a healthy diversity and balance of bacteria in your gut. A healthy diet promotes a large diversity of good gut bacteria, giving our bodies the ability to properly break down and absorb our food, and also adequately attack unwanted organisms.
Try this meal plan to get you started with some easy, healthy recipes that are good for your gut. And, eliminate the following foods to keep your tummy and your health happy.
Alcohol – Even just one drink a day can lead to the overgrowth of bad bacteria and cause unwanted GI symptoms such as bloating and gas. This can lead to poor nutrient absorption, which in turn can lead to negative health symptoms, as our body is not receiving the nutrition that it needs.
Food Sensitivities – When we consume foods that we are sensitive to, our intestines respond with inflammation leading to the development of leaky gut (increased gut permeability). This condition allows large food molecules to get through our gut barrier causing an unusual immune response and negative health symptoms. Gluten and dairy are common culprits, but food sensitivity testing can pinpoint your personal food sensitivities.
Processed foods – Eating a diet full of processed foods such as cookies, crackers, chip and sliced meats means that you are consuming a lot of colourings, flavourings, preservatives, and additives that cause an imbalance in your gut flora increase in inflammatory conditions and can often lead to weight gain and fatigue.