Your gut is made up of trillions of bacteria better known as the microbiome. The bacteria can be divided into two groups, “good” and “bad” bacteria better. These bacteria are vital to our survival and when we consume food we feed either the good or bad bacteria. The so called bad bacteria are ultimately fed by sugar and junk food. The more processed food you eat and sugar-containing foods you consume the more the bad bacteria multiply and takeover. So why is that bad and how does it affect you? As the bad bacteria multiply the harder it is for you to absorb nutrients from healthy foods, because the good bacteria is being overpowered by the bad bacteria.
Diet and gut health are very closely linked. Avoiding certain foods, such as processed foods, high fat foods and foods high in refined sugar is extremely important when maintaining a healthy microbiome. These specific food categories destroy the good bacteria in the gut and promote the growth of bad bacteria. While some are associated with disease others are actually extremely important for the health of your heart, immune system, weight etc.
This article serves as a guide to restore your gut health and get you back on track.
How Can You Improve Your Gut Health?
- Eat Foods That Support The “Good” Bacteria:
If you want to improve your gut health it could be as simply as eating nutrient-dense diet rich in fiber, protein and vegetables is a first good step. This is easiest and quickest way to quickly replenish the good bacteria in your gut lost to poor dietary choices.
- Eat Fermented Foods:
Fermented foods feed the good bacteria in the gut because they are a natural dietary source of probiotics and an reduce disease-causing species in the gut. Foods such as cucumbers, onions, carrots, kimchi, yogurt, miso, kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics and are known to be associated a variety of health benefits such as, improve digestion, better immunity and weight loss.
- Cut Out Sugars Especially Artificial Sweeteners:
Artificial sweeteners like aspartame increase our blood sugar by stimulating the growth of bad and unhealthy bacteria in the gut microbiome such as enterobacteriaceae and clostridium leptum.
- Reduce or Eliminate Coffee Consumption:
Drinking coffee every morning actually decreases the stomach acid needed to breakdown food, which may cause some harm to our stomach bacteria. Food that cannot be digested can become rotten and toxic inside the gut and cause further health complications.
- Avoid Antibiotics:
Antibiotics, by their very nature are harmful to our gut bacteria. They kill not only the bad bacteria in our gut but also our good bacteria too. Unfortunately some of our foods and water supplies contain antibiotics. If you do choose to consume meat, make sure to eat organically raised grass-fed meat and animal products, as the regulatory body that govern these standards forbid the use of antibiotics.
The Bottom Line
“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates
Our gut is a critical part of our health and wellbeing. The kind of bacteria we feed depends on the foods we consume. The more we feed one type of bacteria the harder it is for the other to thrive in the stomach and create dysbiosis in the gut. To support the “good” bacteria in our gut it is crucial that we eat diets rich in vegetables, fiber, and fermented food. It’s also important that we reduce coffee consumption and avoid antibiotics unless medically necessary.