Just last week I was at the gym with a woman who has been married to a doctor for over a decade. When she saw my bright pink prebiotic drink she asked what it was I couldn’t believe her response! “What’s a prebiotic”?? Honestly it caught me off guard- but it had me thinking… Ok, I have been immersed in this “gut health” journey for so long and have just skimmed the surface. Maybe I need to create a little “Gut Health for Dummies” post for people who are just getting started but don’t want to feel overwhelmed at the amount of information out there! So here we are- Gut Health for Dummies- your beginners guild to understanding your gut!
What is “Gut Health”
We have all heard this term “Gut Health” thrown around here and there and this is basically what it means- the balance of bacteria aka microbiome of your intestines. Essentially your digestive tract is lined with bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It might sound gross but it’s not! You actually need that bacteria. The problems start when the bacteria become out of whack and the bad bacteria starts taking over and the good bacteria starts declining. Love it or hate it- it matters. In fact, an average person carries 2-6 POUNDS of bacteria in and on their body. So let’s dive in to find out how to keep ourselves flourishing.
Good and Bad Bacteria
Eubiosis- this is when our body has a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria. The ration should be 85:15- 85% the kind of bacteria that helps us break down food properly and synthesize vitamins and 15% unfavorable or pathogenic bacteria that becomes dangerous when grown too large.
Don’t worry I will not go through and name all of the different strands of bacteria but I will tell you this, we are always feeding our bacteria. Everything that passes our lips is ether feeding into the good or into the bad. When we feed the bad bacteria more than the good- you guessed it- overgrowth! Overgrowth or dysbiosis has a lot of different symptoms but to name a few- constipation, diarrhea, weight gain, skin conditions, dandruff, anxiety, hormonal imbalances, allergies, brain fog, chronic UTI’s & yeast infections … you get the drift- overgrowth is bad. Let’s talk about how to prevent that!
Growing the Good
Here are a few easy ways to feed the good in your gut.
- Prebiotics– you can think of prebiotics as probiotic food, or good bacteria food. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that our bodies cannot digest BUT our good bacteria loves. A few great prebiotic foods that are high in fiber are, beans, onions, garlic, cabbage, asparagus, apples and flax seed. You can also find a plethora of prebiotic drinks, my delicious favorite is the plexus slim drink.
- Probiotics– this good bacteria can be taken in a good supplement or my go to way- eating it! The most popular source is through yogurt. A high quality, low sugar yogurt with LIVE cultures can be a tasty way to build up your gut. Other foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, apple cider vinegar and kombucha are not just great ways to consume probiotics but they can be much less expensive and easy to make.
- What Not to Eat– as much as my sweet tooth self wants to deny it- diet plays a huge role in starving out the bad bacteria. This is my train of thought- you can’t “out probiotic” a bad diet. Meaning, you can take all the pre and probiotics in the world and have a terrible diet and you might never reach a healthy eubiosis. The first thing to cut out- sugar, refined carbs, alcohol, and gluten. You don’t have to completely cut them out but limit these things as much as you can while trying to regain balance.
- What to Eat– prebiotic and probiotic food is a given, but in addition to these things try adding bone broth, collagen, coconut oil and organic clean fruits, veggies and meats into your diet and I guarantee you gut health will change.
Why Does it All Matter
If you have read my 5 Benefits of Sauerkraut post you’ll remember how important a healthy gut is for your quality of life. 80% of our immune system is found in our gut and 90% of our serotonin aka the feel good hormone is found there as well! Think about the condition of our society- we are more medicated, more depressed and more sick than ever before. Let’s hit the brakes on these trends and start moving in the other direction!
I hope this post was easy to digest (pun intended)! Comment below to share your story of how you got control or are getting control of your gut and how it’s impacted you!