By Nicole O’Neill
Do you know that over 100 trillion bacteria live in your gut? Your gut health is extremely important to your overall health and well-being. Some bacteria in your gut are important for:
- Maintaining a healthy immune system, weight, and heart.
- Digesting food and aiding the body in nutrient absorption.
- Converting substances in food such as fibre, into short-chain fatty acids that deliver energy to the liver.
- Assisting your body in the production of vitamin K2 (which activates the proteins that regulate where calcium goes to in your body) and B group vitamins for cell metabolism.
- Assisting your body’s synthesis of neurotransmitters, which in turn has positive effects on your mood, sleep, and stress levels. A healthy gut equals a happy brain!
What is bad gut health?
It turns out Hippocrates was right when he said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
Do you know that your gut contains 80% of your body’s immune cells? If your gut health is thrown off balance, you can easily get sick.
What are some symptoms of bad gut health?
- Sugar cravings
- Bad breath
- Food allergies or intolerances
- Skin problems
- Suppressed immunity
What conditions can arise out of a bad gut?
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Chron’s disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Bowel cancer
- Poor mental health
4 ways to look after your gut health
Do you know that the types of food you eat can change your gut bacteria in as little as 24 hours? Eating your way to good gut health is easy. Here are some tips!
- Eat healthy food and reduce junk food: Junk food is high in sugar and fat and supports the “bad” bacteria in your gut. Healthy foods are high in vital nutrients for your body and support the “good” bacteria in your gut. Next time you eat, make sure you have a rainbow plate filled with lots of real, fresh, and vibrant food.
- Eat food that is high in fibre: A high fibre diet promotes gut bacteria diversity and the growth of good bacteria. Some foods that are high in fibre are nuts, seeds, broccoli, carrots, and oranges.
- Choose wholegrain foods: Whole grain foods are packed with prebiotics that aid the growth of good bacteria in your gut. They also boost your body’s production of short-chain fatty acids, which are linked to a strong immune system and digestive health. Try some wholegrain oats for breakfast to give your gut a healthy start to the day!
Drink lots of water!
Drinking enough water is very important for good gut health and healthy digestion. Water helps break down your food and allows waste to pass easily through your intestines. It also boosts nutrient absorption, so your cells get the most out of what you eat.
It is usually recommended that you drink 30mls of water per kg of your body weight, per day. You can also eat foods high in water such as watermelon and broccoli.
While we’re on the topic of drinking, alcohol has negative impacts on your gut health. I recommend reducing your overall intake of alcohol and when you drink, drink some water afterwards.
Take probiotics everyday.
Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that keep your gut healthy. Taking probiotics every day means your gut is always in optimum balance with good bacteria to protect you from illness and disease.
Taking probiotics is especially important if you are taking a course of antibiotics or if you have recently taken a course of antibiotics. This is because antibiotics cannot distinguish between the “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut and kills both kinds of bacteria. By killing your body’s good bacteria, antibiotics suppress your immune system and can cause thrush and diarrhoea.
Taking a probiotic during and after you finish your course of antibiotics will help restore your gut health.
While yoghurt naturally contains some probiotics, probiotic supplements contain more strains of bacteria and more amount of bacteria than a serve of yoghurt. Still, there’s nothing stopping you from combining a probiotic supplement with yoghurt!
Have a gut test!
What does your gut health say about you? We offer various gastrointestinal tests for our clients at East West Natural Medicine Group. They are:
- The Complete Digestive Stool Analysis (CDSA): Do you want to have a complete overview of your gut health and digestive health? The Complete Digestive Stool Analysis Test does just this! It also examines your metabolism, pancreatic function, and the balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) test: Your small intestine is responsible for digesting and absorbing nutrients and contains millions of bacteria. However, if your concentration of good and bad bacteria is out of balance, and the amount of bacteria inside your small intestine becomes too concentrated, your intestinal wall can become damaged. This can then prevent nutrient absorption and can lead to serious health problems such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). The SIBO Test checks for any signs of bacterial overgrowth in your small intestine. It is usually done via a breath test.
- Leaky Gut Test: A healthy small intestine keeps toxins and any undigested food out of your blood stream. If its intestinal wall gets damaged and becomes “leaky” toxins, microbes, partially digested foods, and other toxic molecules can easily pass through it and enter your bloodstream and poison your body. The Leaky Gut test assesses if you have any damage to your small intestinal wall. It is done via a urine test.
- IgG & IgA Food Intolerance Profile: The IgG & IgA Food Intolerance Profile detects any of the 96 general western foods that may cause gastrointestinal and mucous membrane reactions, which cause the common symptoms of food intolerance. The test is client specific and removes the broad process of trial and error when it comes to eliminating offending foods.
What does your gut test say about your health? Are you suffering from bloating, cramps, or diarrhoea? Maybe you’ve been feeling under the weather lately. Give us a call on 1300 00 WELL (9355) today to book an appointment to have your gut health tested.