Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Bacteria gets a bad reputation. With access to a whole host of anti-bacterial cleaning and lifestyle products many of us think the goal should be to get rid of bacteria, not protect it.
But, not so fast.
Our health depends on adequate levels of “good bacteria” along our digestive track. Our body’s microbiomes evolve and develop from the moment we are born, and consist of trillions of microbes - a combination of bacteria, viruses and fungi. A properly functioning microbiome has a role in digesting food, proper brain function, and immune response. (1)
Improper gut health has been connected to autoimmune illness, type 2 diabetes, bloating, acid reflux, digestion issues, poor immunity and more.
The microbiome is primarily located in the intestine, so how do you make sure that you have a flourishing microbiome when it’s out of sight?
5 Healthy-Gut Hacks
Heal your gut. Millions of people suffer from leaky gut syndrome, and repairing your gut lining is often a necessary first step towards gut health. (2) You can promote healing with supplements like L-Glutamine, collagen powder and N-acetyl glucosamine. (3) Incorporating nourishing bone broth into your diet can also help soothe and heal your digestive system.(4)
Prebiotics. This plant-based dietary fiber helps feed and bolster healthy gut bacteria. Consuming between 5 and 8 grams daily can be beneficial to promoting gut balance. Getting sufficient prebiotics can be achieved by eating foods like dandelion greens, onion, garlic, spinach, beans and bananas. (5)
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria (readily available in supplement form), and when you add them to your diet they help protect you from harmful pathogens, balance out “bad” bacteria, and digest foods properly. (2)
Fermented foods are food-based sources of probiotics. Consuming fermented kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha and water kefir can help introduce additional good bacteria to your microbiome. (5)
Magnesium. There are enzymes in our gut that help the body process and use fat, protein and carbohydrates. Magnesium is a necessary catalyst for these enzymes to function. If you don’t have an adequate level of magnesium your body won’t be able to “turn on” the enzymes necessary to digest and absorb food properly. (6)
More and more research is being done to understand the interconnectivity of gut health with overall health. At this point, it’s abundantly clear that a flourishing microbiome is essential for optimal health. The conclusion?
Be kind to your gut. Your body will thank you.