The human microbiome is made up of trillions of microscopic organisms. The majority of these microbes live in our gut, most of them in the colon and intestines. Playing a vital role in our body, these microbes are responsible for keeping the immune system intact, digesting food, removing toxins from the body, protecting the intestines from infections, and also in the production of vitamin K and B. Each one of us has a unique combination of gut microbiome, which also contains what is known as ‘bad bacteria’. An increase in bad bacteria is what makes us sick. Thus, it is very important to maintain a balance between good and bad gut bacteria.
Getting your first lot of microbes at the time of passing through the birth canal, microbiome changes occur influenced by breast milk, the first solid food ingested and any medication that might be taken. By the age of three, your gut microbes stabilize and set the system for the rest of your life.
What Impacts Gut Health?
Your gut health is determined by your gut flora, the strength of your intestinal lining and your diet. Keeping your gut in balance requires you to take care of your digestive system as there is a lot of factors that can cause an imbalance in your gut microbes. Some of the factors that can cause this are eating processed foods, antibiotics, drinking alcohol, drug abuse, weight loss or gain, stress, and traveling to new environments.
Signs That Indicate an Unhealthy Gut
Developing food allergies, excessive flatulence, bloating, weight gain, an outbreak of acne, rosacea or eczema, mood swings, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, and joint pains are possible indicators of an unhealthy gut. An unhealthy gut can lead to serious issues like small bacterial overgrowth, leaky gut syndrome, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Foods for a Better Gut
Your diet can make all the difference in maintaining the balance between good and bad bacteria. One of the first changes to make is to reduce the sugar intake along with conventional dairy products, low-nutrient carbohydrates, and alcohol. Different bacteria thrive on different foods. Eating a healthy mix of different varieties of food will ensure that no single type of bacteria can dominate. Increase the intake of high-quality protein, vegetables, and omega-3 fats. Another good way to improve your gut health is to add medium-chain triglycerides to your diet. Found in coconut oil, these saturated fatty acids are antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial. The good bacteria in your gut feed on Prebiotics which are available in vegetables like brussels sprouts, asparagus, sweet potatoes and also in chocolates and coffee. Add collagen-rich food to your diet. Organ meat and bone broth are sources of collagen. Alternately, you could also take hydrolyzed collagen protein powder as a supplement.
Live a Healthy Life
Your gut health is impacted by your lifestyle. Ensure that you get proper sleep, regular exercise, healthy and fresh food, and time to relax. A healthy lifestyle will help keep your gut healthy and vice versa.