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The Vital Importance of Gut Bacteria for Your Health

The Vital Importance of Gut Bacteria for Your Health

Your digestive system has trillions of bacteria living inside it. Some of this bacteria is good, while some is bad, and together they are referred to as the microbiome, or microbiota. Your gut bacteria contains over 1000 different species and your body actually has more bacterial cells inside it than human cells!

Recent studies have established the invaluable role that microbiome in the gut has on our overall health. In fact, without gut bacteria, it would be incredibly difficult to survive. The development of our microbiome is believed to begin even in utero, and its early colonization is quite dependent on the way in which we are born, and what type of milk we are fed as infants. Your gut bacteria is different from everyone else’s, and the fact that it is so unique and substantial is a key indicator to the huge impact that gut microbiota has on your body.

Does Gut Bacteria Affect Your Mental Health?

Studies show that the answer might be yes. The gut has a large amount of nerves that communicate with the brain through a connection that scientists are calling the “gut-brain axis.” An example of this is with the hormone Serotonin, which is mostly made in the gut. Healthy gut bacteria is believed to help with anxiety, depression and even autism. A study in Holland and Belgium that examined over 1,000 people, found that those who experienced depression did not have the same types of gut bacteria as those who reported having high quality of life.

How Does Gut Microbiome Affect Your Body?

Your gut microbiota directly affects your immunity in many ways. A healthy culture of gut bacteria helps with digesting fibre (which prevents weight gain) and managing blood sugar (to help with ailments like diabetes). Your gut microbiome also communicates with your immune cells, helping your body fight infection. Heart disease is also better prevented by “good” gut microbiome, as unhealthy bacteria can lead to blocked arteries. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and similar intestinal diseases are also largely due to poor gut health.

How Can You Cultivate Good Gut Bacteria?

Consider taking probiotics/prebiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that can help populate the gut with healthy microbes, and can be taken as supplements. Prebiotics are a type of fibre found in specific foods like bananas, apples, and oats. Together these are great for encouraging healthy gut bacteria.

Eat fermented foods

Foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut are filled with healthy bacteria and greatly reduce the amount of unhealthy microbiota we have in our gut. Fermented foods should be eaten daily, to help maintain a consistent culture of good bacteria.

Eat healthy

Eating a healthy variety of foods is very important for keeping your gut full of good bacteria. Try to eat more whole grains, beans, and fruit, as they have a lot of fibre, and avoid artificial sweeteners as these will increase unhealthy gut bacteria.

Avoid Antibiotics

Antibiotics are detrimental to the gut microbiome. They kill both good and bad bacteria cells, and should only be taken when necessary.

Avoid chlorinated water

In 2018, a study done in St Louis examined 60 twin infants and found that those who drank unfiltered tap water had poorer gut health than those who drank filtered water, meaning that chlorine could potentially harm the gut.

The best way to cultivate good bacteria in our guts is to eat fermented, prebiotic, and fibrous foods, and try to avoid things that might increase bad bacteria, such as antibiotics and chlorinated water.

Cedar Springs spring water is a great alternative to chlorinated tap water. It’s known for its great taste, natural purity, and is a terrific choice for anyone wanting to enhance their health.