Gut flora, gut bacteria, gut microbiota and gut microbes are all terms for the same potpourri of tiny organisms living inside of your gastrointestinal tract. We often associate bacteria with sickness, but these guys are completely the opposite. Rather than make you sick, they actually provide protection. Gut flora are the subject of lots of current medical research. How our actions affect them and how they contribute to our overall health are both areas in which we continue to make new discoveries.
Gut flora have far-reaching influence on your body. They:
With such important benefits, maintaining the right kind of gut flora is essential.
It’s true, our relationship is mutually beneficial. Without gut flora your body wouldn’t be able to function properly. A lot of food we eat, like whole grain, fruits, vegetables and others contain a lot material that our stomachs can’t digest. Some types of gut flora thrive on this material, however, meaning our digestion runs more smoothly while they get a free meal.
Scientists consider your gut flora so important that they named the Granny Smith apple the healthiest type of all apples due to its benefit to your microbiota. In other words, it’s prebiotic.
Because of the numerous ways gut flora are good for you, a lot of new foods, like yogurt, advertise their probiotic aspects. You can even buy probiotic supplements. However, a properly balanced diet, with plenty of fruits and vegetables, helps induce lots of good bacteria to grow.
You can also get plenty of good bacteria from fermented foods. Some like pickles, sauerkraut and vinegar, you may know, but there are other, perhaps more exotic options as well:
Kimchi is a staple of the Korean diet and is common in both Japan and China. The spicy fermented cabbage is not only tasty when prepared in countless different ways, it’s also rich in probiotics and antioxidants.
When you have bad levels of gut flora, you increase your risk of gaining weight, obesity and diabetes.
Obviously, antibiotic medication will kill many bacteria in your gut, both good and bad. While this is not as bad as the alternative (no antibiotics) when needed, it’s important to be aware of during any convalescence.
Some foods can mess with your gut flora as well. In fact, it’s one of the main reasons why artificial sweeteners are bad for you.
Your gut flora are living organisms that follow the same internal clock that you do. They recognize when we sleep and when we are active, meaning their levels fall and rise depending on time of day. When our sleep is disrupted, it can disrupt our gut flora as well.
It may sound like a lot to worry about, but our gut flora want to be healthy, and our bodies do too. Over the millennia we’ve evolved to have our needs coincide to a fair extent. This means that if you follow a proper healthy lifestyle, you’ll likely have healthy gut flora as well. There are many ways Olumia Life can help.
Connect with us to discuss how Olumia Life can benefit you and your practice. Physicians may contact our Olumia Life project lead, Steven Willey MD.Connect with Us
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