August 5, 2020
Why A Balanced Gut Microbiome Is Important For Your Health
The digestive system is home to nearly 100 trillion bacteria — both good and bad. And, within those trillions of bacteria, there are various species (about 1,000 different kinds of bacteria), and 5,000 different bacteria strains. That’s a ton of bacteria! All of them are known as the gut microbiota, and the balance of the microbiome plays a massive role in overall health.
In this post, we’re diving deep into what affects your microbiota, what you need to know about good and bad bacteria, and some signs and symptoms of bacteria imbalance.
What Affects Your Microbiota?
The gut microbiome can be affected by various factors, including diet, genes, certain medications, and even age.
Antibiotics can be especially harmful to the balance of the bacteria in the gut as they don’t only kill off the bad bacteria, they tend to deplete the gut of the healthy bacteria as well. This is why it is often recommended to take a probiotic supplement after a course of antibiotics to help restore some of the balance in the gut.
Diet and stress also play a role. Chronic stress has been linked to imbalanced gut bacteria (more on this below), and a diet high in processed sugar can also negatively affect gut health by decreasing the number of beneficial bacteria. This gives us another reason to focus on eating a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet as low in refined sugar as possible.
Why a Balanced Microbiome is so Important For Overall Health
So why is a balanced microbiome so important anyway? These important microbiota are known to help protect the body from intestinal infections, and some bacteria strains have even been found to play a role in metabolism by converting short-chain fatty acids from unabsorbed sugars.
Enteric bacteria has also been shown to produce some of its own nutrients such as folate and vitamin K, as well as metabolize certain medications.
The bacteria in your gut also plays a huge role in the function of your immune system. With roughly 70% of the immune system residing in the gut, it makes sense that the status of our gut health would affect how strong our immune system is.
Research has shown that the bacteria in the gut plays a role in our overall susceptibility to infection as well as for creating immune system balance.
The importance of a balanced microbiome doesn't stop there — new research is emerging showing just how big of a role the gut-brain connection is, making it clear that the health of our gut also affects the health of our brain. One study found that gut bacteria do, in fact, play a role in mood, anxiety, cognition, and even pain. This proves that we have to take care of our gut in order to take care of our mind.
Symptoms of Imbalanced Gut Bacteria
Now that you know more about the importance of balanced gut bacteria, let’s take a look at some of the signs and symptoms of what an imbalanced gut microbiome may look like:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep issues
- Food intolerances
How to Support Gut Bacteria Balance
The good news is that there are steps you can take to support a more balanced gut. From dietary, lifestyle, and supplement options, there are things you can do to finally take control of your health through supporting a more balanced digestive system.
#1 Reduce Stress Levels
Stress wreaks havoc on our overall health, and it can certainly lead to digestive upset. Research shows that stress can, in fact, change the diversity as well as the number of gut microorganisms, and with a less diverse microbiome, there’s an increased risk of having a greater number of harmful bacteria.
Reducing stress is key for not only gut health but overall health as well. So, try to implement some form of stress reduction into your day to day life. This could mean getting outside for a brisk walk, reading a book before bed, or practicing yoga regularly — whatever it is, just make sure it’s something that helps you unwind.
#2 Up Your Intake of Probiotic-Rich Foods
Adding fermented foods into your diet is a great way to boost the amount of healthy bacteria in your gut. Try foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kombucha, and kefir.
#3 Enjoy Prebiotic-Rich Foods
Prebiotics feed the healthy bacteria in the gut, and adding a variety of prebiotic-rich foods to your diet is another great way to show your gut some love.
Some delicious options include yams, asparagus, onions, garlic, chicory root, leeks, bananas, oats, and apples. Think foods high in fiber!
#4 Exercise Regularly
Exercise isn’t only important for keeping our cardiovascular health in tip-top shape and supporting a healthy weight. Exercise has been shown to help boost the beneficial bacteria in the gut and is also a great way to combat stress, giving us another reason to use daily movement as a way to keep our gut happy.
#5 Supplement With DIGEST2FL
Another excellent way to help support the bacteria in your gut is to supplement with a prebiotic. Here at Newtrition, we offer DIGEST2FL, our latest digestive-supporting supplement that contains PREBILAC-2’FL, a prebiotic to help support a healthy microbiome. This prebiotic is also a great option for those following a low-FODMAP diet.
Support Optimal Health With a Balance Gut Microbiome
With trillions of bacteria residing in our gut, we have to do what we have control over to balance that bacteria, making sure we have plenty of beneficial bacteria to keep the harmful strains away.
Use these tips, and consider trying DIGEST2FL to feed those healthy bacteria and start supporting your health from within.