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Gut Health -The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

There is upto 100 trillion of good and bad microbes living in your body - that is more than human cells (WOWZEZ). Good bacteria is essential for digestion, immunity and reducing chronic inflammation in the body. This is science, not a claim. It's not new science either. Hippocrates back in 500 B.C. stated "all diseases begin in the gut". What is new, is that certain beneficial bacteria strains (so many) have been identified and how exactly how they benefits your system. Good and bad are always going to be present ( like in life!) and in your body. Aim to keep a 85%:15% ratio of the good:bad. If there is an imbalance, it can lead to all types of conditions and diseases - the ugly - and you will be surprised what conditions it is linked to... read on.

This is my Kimchi

The GOOD: So good bacteria is known a probiotics. They are naturally found in fruits, vegetables and fermented foods (think sour foods). Probiotics can naturally found in yogurt with live cultures, leeks, sourdough bread, miso, and certain vegetables and fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickled veggies (that have gone through the correct process), kombucha, kimchi (I have a simple easy recipe for this) or kefir (dairy or coconut based). Infact, any food can be fermented and provide good bacteria strains. But you don't have to be fancy or make your own from scratch. Pick one of the above and eat it!

You also need prebiotics - these 'feed' the good bacteria in your gut. Without them the good bacteria will be overtaken by the bad. Prebiotics are found naturally in fibre (the superfood of them all!), oats, bananas, berries, asparagus, garlic, onion, broccoli, peas, wholegrains, sprouted grains and flaxseed and the list goes on.

What you may not be aware of is that not all good bacteria is designed to hang around in your gut. Some strains are transient providing good microbes throughout the system.

So, pre and probiotics need to be eaten on a daily basis. I can help you incorporate these in you diet naturally or with a supplement (ask me how!)

The BAD: So what contributes to the bad bacteria? Common ones include overuse of medication, stress, gluten, excess sugar, alcohol (except red wine! YAY), lack of exercise, over sanitation, poor sleep and obviously cigarettes.

Bad days happen in life and so do bad (or not so good) food days! It's important to know, it's OK for the occasional (not regular) indulgence- for me... food is life. I am not going to deprive myself when I am out- it's what you do everyday that matters.

The UGLY: When there is an imbalance with good and bad bacteria in your system it's called Dysbiosis. This can lead to a breakdown of the lining of the gut, and when the gut becomes leaky, it allows particles to pass through the lining that shouldn’t (there is so much on this subject but can't fit in here). This can lead to increased inflammation, immune system dysregulation, and autoimmune diseases. Obvious symptoms of an upset tummy will be diarrhoea, constipation, gas, bloating or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other digestive issues. However, surprisingly, scientists also have discovered that gut health plays an important role in improving or slowing down the process of these following conditions (to name a few):

  • Asthma and Allergies

  • Cardiovascular Disease

  • Obesity

  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases & others

  • Diabetes and other autoimmune conditions

  • Arthritis - Osteo & Rheumatoid

  • Skin conditions - various

  • Depression & anxiety & other other mood issues

  • Dementia & Alzheimer

  • Parkinson's

  • Some cancers

You can restore your imbalance by getting your daily dose of pre & probiotics from food.

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