I’m always going on about gut health. I usually look at gut health first in my one to one consultations and I hold seminars about gut health so maybe that’s why! But what is it really all about?
First of all, here’s some juicy information about your microbiome ……
The microbiome is defined as all the bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and eukaryotes that inhabit the human body. Collectively referred to as the “second human genome”, the gut microbiome in particular is now being considered a separate “organ” with distinct metabolic and immune activity.
Did you know that there are 10x the number of microbial cells in the human gut than in the whole human body, totalling roughly 100 trillion microbes representing as many as 5,000 different species and weighing approximately 2 kilograms. There are other human microbiome sites as well, including skin, oral, and vaginal but the gut is the most popular and diverse neighborhood! I think that’s amazing.
OK that’s interesting but what does the good gut bacteria actually do?
- Extract energy from food
- Produce essential vitamins such as Vitamin K, Vitamin E and the B vitamins
- Digestion and absorption of nutrients
- Regulates our immune system
- Regulates our glucose levels and metabolism
- Manufacturers neurotransmitters such as serotonin
- Influences our brain and mental health
- Protects us from disease causing microbes
What causes our gut microbiome to be unhealthy in the first place?
- Natural birth vs caesarean
- Breast fed vs bottle fed
- Poor diet in childhood
- Environment – pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones, pollution
- Foods – intolerances, processed foods, high sugar foods, high trans-fat foods
- Chronic stress
- Lack of exercise
So what are the signs of an imbalanced gut microbiome? There are many, many signs so I’ve only mentioned a couple here.
- Feel irritable and moody but not sure why?
- Do you have interrupted sleep?
- Do you have allergies, intolerances and/or food sensitivities?
- Have you ever had parasites or similar?
- Have you ever had gastrointestinal upset overseas?
- Do you find it difficult to lose weight?
- Do you feel fatigued?
- Do you have a skin condition?
- Do you have a ‘foggy’ brain?
- Hormones out of whack?
- Constipation, acid reflux, diarrhoea, bloating?
What can you do to improve the health of your gut? You can start by removing the following:
- Common reactive foods – usually dairy, eggs, gluten. Get tested if you unsure.
- Refined carbohydrates and sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Unhealthy fats
- Additives and preservatives
- Environmental toxins
- Excess caffeine/alcohol
- Unnecessary medications
You can also start by eating wholefoods and fermented food. Whole foods are as nature intended. Foods that haven’t been tampered with such as packaged food. I know that we live in a busy world and some packaged food will be in your diet. That’s OK in moderation but there some packaged foods better than others. Fermented food includes sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, sourdough bread (good quality).
You can also reduce your stress. In today’s modern society, we’re running around like headless chickens. We need to stop! My e-book contains tips on how to reduce your stress.