Tummy troubles are very common in our lives, in fact I’m pretty sure that everyone can say they have experienced a bad stomach at one time or another. How many times have you heard people saying they feel bloated or gassy? How many times have you heard about someone having a ‘funny’ tummy (if you know what I mean!)? Answer: too often!
However, having a bad stomach isn’t something we should just brush off in the way that we do. Why? Because our gut health is a lot more important to our overall well-being than most people realise.
As I Quit Sugar put it very nicely, ‘Think of your digestive system as the foundation of a house. If it’s in working order, that house is guaranteed to remain standing even during the craziest of storms. But if your digestive system is out of whack, somewhere in that house, things are going to start falling apart’.
The human body contains billions and billions of bacteria (we have 10x more bacterial cells than we do human cells!) and, whilst some of that bacteria is bad, a lot of it is also very good. A large number of bacteria live in the stomach which is our digestion powerhouse that breaks down all the food we eat so we are able to extract the useful and nutritious components. Therefore, it is important that the bad bacteria in our gut is limited and controlled by the good bacteria.
What could lead to an imbalance of our gut bacteria?
The food you eat makes a huge difference to the balance of bacteria inside you and therefore to your overall health. The two main causes of an imbalance of gut bacteria are:
1) Eating a diet high in refined carbohydrates e.g. sugar - this promotes the growth of bad bacteria in the gut.
2) Antibiotics - they are designed to kill off bacteria but they don’t discriminate between good/bad bacteria so it is easy for the bad bacteria to outnumber the good bacteria very quickly.
Stress and exposure to other external toxins can also play a part in an unhealthy gut.
How can I correct my gut health?
Probiotics (AKA ‘nature’s antibiotic’) are essential for maintaining a healthy gut because they produce substances such as lactic acid or hydrogen peroxide which stop the harmful bacteria from growing.
Prebiotics are also essential for healthy gut bacteria because they feed the good bacteria.
What foods contain probiotics and prebiotics?
It’s a good idea to have probiotics and prebiotics everyday in order to reap the full benefits of them.