If you’ve been to see me in clinic for a consultation then you’ve heard me say that when your gut isn’t functioning well nothing functions well. Your gut health will affect:
- your immune system function: a healthy gut helps you fight and recover from illness and infection,
- your moods and concentration: a healthy gut makes you happier and improves concentration,
- your hormones: a healthy gut helps to keep hormones in balance allowing elimination of excess levels of bad hormones,
- your energy levels: a healthy gut gives you more energy for life.
I know first hand how important the gut is to feeling your best. Healing your gut is always the starting point to healing other health issues.
Your gut is a garden where both good and bad bugs can take root! Though with over 100 trillion bacteria and thousands of different species outnumbering our own cells ten to one, it would be safer to say the garden of your gut is more a jungle!. We are actually more bacteria than human! The collective name given to the large colonies that reside in your gut is gut flora.
It is these bacteria that are responsible for producing the neurotransmitters that regulate the rest of your bodily functions. Different species all have different roles. If you have ever taken a probiotic you may be familiar with some of the more common strains like lactobacillus acidophilus, one of the species responsible for the health benefits of yoghurt.
One of the crucial starting points for gut health is maintaining a healthy gut flora balance. A healthy gut flora balance is 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. Our modern diet high in sugars, carbohydrates, preservatives and additives is the perfect breeding ground for overgrowth of bad bacteria, as their numbers increase they will kill off good bacteria.
Good bacteria perform a multitude of tasks within your body:
- Prevent growth of harmful, pathogenic bacteria
- Control your metabolism
- Reduce and neutralise toxins
- Recycle hormones
There is a lot that you can do to keep them healthy and happy so that they can keep you feeling healthy and happy!
1. Consume anti inflammatory healthy fats daily!
My personal favourite is coconut oil, a healthy saturated fat that supports immune system function. It contains lauric acid, a proven anti bacterial, anti viral and anti fungal agent that is easily digested and absorbed.
Coconut oil also helps the body eliminate toxins and assists with absorption of beneficial nutrients. A few other good sources of healthy fats to include into the diet are extra virgin olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocados.
2. Avoid processed and refined sugars!
Avoid processed and refined sugars! Bad bacteria feed off sugar. A diet high in carbohydrates such as bread, rice, pasta and fruit will be a feast for bad bacteria.
3. Consume Fresh Garlic.
It is a potent natural antibiotic shown to be effective against even candida. It destroys unfriendly bacteria while boosting good bacteria.
4. Choose Organic Whole Foods
Consume whole foods rich in fibre such as leafy greens, fresh vegetable. These are rich sources of prebiotics that will help to feed good bacteria.
At the same time minimise your exposure to antibiotics in your food by choosing organic, grass-fed beef and lamb and free range chicken and eggs.