Do you suffer from symptoms such as gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea?
If so, it’s important to understand that these gut problems are not normal. They are your body’s way of telling you that it needs help!
You may have heard me discuss the human microbiome. It’s the bacteria cells that work hard to keep your immune system strong by maintaining a healthy balance throughout your body. Your microbiome begins forming at birth and builds as you interact with the world. In fact, you have more bacterial cells in our body than you do human cells ... 10 times more!
Scientists are gaining a new view on how our bodies function and why certain modern diseases are on the rise. What they are finding is that microorganisms in our intestines are connected to our health in a significant way.
The bacteria in your gut is an intricate system. There’s no single source of food that will supply all the bacterium you need for optimal health. Here are five ways to strengthen your microbiome and your immune system against disease:
Eat mostly nutrient-rich whole foods.Eating primarily grass-fed meats, wild-caught salmon, pasture-raised eggs, berries, fruits, vegetables and nuts/seeds is very important. These eight foods create vitality beyond your imagination. Your body is strong, wants to maintain health and will respond to these healthy-nutrient dense foods.
Consume fermented food on a regular basis.Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir and kimchi contain probiotic bacteria that enhance the healthy bacteria in our gut. It’s these probiotics that help feed the bacteria, digest our food better, absorb more nutrients and get rid of toxins. Fermented foods are a powerhouse when it comes to improving healthy gut function.
Eat plenty of fiber.Prebiotics are food ingredients that are not digested by your gut. Eating these fermentable food products will improve your microbiome. They clean out your digestive tract and serve as food for healthy bacteria. A few foods rich in prebiotic fiber are onions, leeks, chicory roots, green bananas, apples, beans, legumes, garlic, asparagus and cabbage.
Don’t be too hygienic.While hand sanitizers, soaps, food pasteurization and other measures of removing bacteria decrease exposure to pathogens, humans benefit from contact with both beneficial and potentially harmful germs to develop a stronger immune system. Yes, washing your hands with soap and water before you eat is important, but applying hand sanitizer multiple times per day may harm your gut flora more than benefit it.
Avoid antibiotics.Although oral antibiotics can kill potentially pathogenic bacteria, they can also kill off a wide range of beneficial microbes in the body. They can permanently change the protective flora in the gut, affect your digestion and increase inflammation in your body. Discuss alternatives to antibiotics with your doctor, and develop a plan together that works for you.
Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition. She can be reached at 444-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.