Bacteria in your gut might sound unpleasant, but your gut actually uses bacteria to process food into energy. We call these helpful bacteria probiotics. Most people have heard the term in yogurt ads, but that’s about it. What are probiotics and what do they mean to your body?
It all starts in your gut! The gut is the system in your body responsible for digestion. Proper digestion is essential to your health and probiotics are essential to your gut. When bacteria are out of balance, it can cause complications such as:[2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes
- Neuromuscular diseases
- B-12 deficiency
Top Ways to Promote Your Gut Health
Here are five awesome tips for promoting your gut health and well-being.
1. Take a Quality Probiotic
In 1907, Nobel Laureate Elie Metchnikoff introduced the concept of probiotics. He published a groundbreaking study that linked longevity with consuming fermented milk that contained Lactobacilli, a bacterial strain that produces lactic acid and helps maintain healthy intestinal microflora.[10, 11] Today, probiotic supplements are available at health food, grocery, and online stores. When choosing a probiotic, look for these qualities:
- Probiotic supplements should contain 50 to 75 billion CFUs (colony forming units).
- Encapsulated pills are better than liquids because they help the bacteria survive the acidic stomach environment.
- Multiple strains of bacteria (different strains offer different benefits — some help with digestion of fiber, some help with vitamin absorption, some help promote bowel regularity).
Global Healing's Ultimate Probiotic is the probiotic I recommend. It's a blend of billions of live and active cultures from 25 probiotic strains and contains prebiotics for extra support.
2. Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria. Although that includes the bad bacteria that can make you sick, it also includes the good bacteria your body needs. This disruption of intestinal harmony can cause a lack of diversity among bacteria that can affect your health.
3. Incorporate Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Fermented foods can introduce good bacteria to your gut, but know that it's better to make your own. Store-bought options are usually pasteurized, which kills good bacteria. Some of the best-fermented foods for promoting gut health include:
4. Eat Less Refined Sugar
5. Lower Your Stress Levels
Much like the spinal cord, neurons cover your intestinal wall where they send information throughout your body. The existence of the brain/gut connection makes it clear that stress can be linked to gut health.[14, 15] When stressed, your brain sends messages to your gut in the form of chemicals. These chemicals affect how well your gut works.
5 Tactics to Reduce Stress That Will Support Gut Health
It’s amazing how much better you can feel about things if you just take some time to stop, breathe, and concentrate. If you need to use a mantra, go for it! For more information, check out our meditation guide.
Aromatherapy harnesses the power of plant-sourced essential oils. Many people attest that this ancient, traditional practice helps them manage stress.
What you eat can have a significant impact on your gut health. Stress-relieving foods can help.
Laughter can relieve stress by producing endorphins and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Find a funny friend or turn on a comedy to produce a relieving chuckle. Your gut will thank you!
Bonus: Cleanse and Nourish Your Gut
Supplements are an excellent option for maintaining a healthy gut. You can find individual supplements based on your specific needs, but opting for a complete bundle of gut health supplements could save you money.
Global Healing’s own Gut Health Kit™ combines our very best supplements for overall gut health. It contains VeganZyme®, a digestive aid that provides your gut with the enzymes it needs to properly process proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and other essential nutrients. It also includes Oxy-Powder®, which cleanses your gut and helps flush your digestive system of accumulated toxins and waste, as well as Global Healing's Aloe Vera to soothe and comfort your gut while encouraging nutrient absorption. Finally, the kit includes Floratex™ to balance your microbiome with a comprehensive blend of live probiotics and prebiotics.
You can also enhance the power of the Gut Health Kit with optional upgrades — Turmeric to help your colon heal itself at a cellular level and organic raw apple cider vinegar to promote regularity and aid in detoxification.
- Phys.org. Exploring the Role of Gut Bacteria in Digestion. Phys.org, 19 Aug. 2010. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Gas in the Digestive Tract. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Jan. 2013. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Brown, Kirsty et al. Diet-Induced Dysbiosis of the Intestinal Microbiota and the Effects on Immunity and Disease. Nutrients 4.8 (2012): 1095–1119. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Zhang, Yu-Jie et al. Impacts of Gut Bacteria on Human Health and Diseases. Ed. Manickam Sugumaran. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 16.4 (2015): 7493–7519. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Adams, James B et al. Gastrointestinal Flora and Gastrointestinal Status in Children with Autism -- Comparisons to Typical Children and Correlation with Autism Severity. BMC Gastroenterology 11 (2011): 22. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Lakhan, Shaheen E, and Annette Kirchgessner. Gut Inflammation in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Nutrition & Metabolism 7 (2010): 79. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Round, June L., and Sarkis K. Mazmanian. The Gut Microbiome Shapes Intestinal Immune Responses during Health and Disease. Nature reviews. Immunology 9.5 (2009): 313–323. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Quigley, Eamonn M. M. Gut Bacteria in Health and Disease. Gastroenterology & Hepatology 9.9 (2013): 560–569.
- Murphy, M. F., et al. Megaloblastic anaemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency caused by small intestinal bacterial overgrowth: possible role of vitamin B12 analogues. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Mackowiak, Philip A. Recycling Metchnikoff: Probiotics, the Intestinal Microbiome and the Quest for Long Life. Frontiers in Public Health 1 (2013): 52. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Lebeer, Sarah, Jos Vanderleyden, and Sigrid C. J. De Keersmaecker. Genes and Molecules of Lactobacilli Supporting Probiotic Action. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews : MMBR 72.4 (2008): 728–764. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Llor, Carl, and Lars Bjerrum. Antimicrobial Resistance: Risk Associated with Antibiotic Overuse and Initiatives to Reduce the Problem. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety 5.6 (2014): 229–241. PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Kruis, W et al. Effect of Diets Low and High in Refined Sugars on Gut Transit, Bile Acid Metabolism, and Bacterial Fermentation. Gut 32.4 (1991): 367–371. Print.
- Konturek, PC, T. Brzozowski, and SJ Konturek. Stress and the Gut: Pathophysiology, Clinical Consequences, Diagnostic Approach and Treatment Options. PubMed.gov. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Dec. 2011. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Mayer, Emeran A. Gut Feelings: The Emerging Biology of Gut–brain Communication. Nature reviews. Neuroscience 12.8 (2011): 10.1038/nrn3071.PMC. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Hamer, M., R. Endrighi, and L. Poole. Physical Activity, Stress Reduction, and Mood: Insight into Immunological Mechanisms. PubMed.gov. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.
- Strean, William B. Laughter Prescription. Canadian Family Physician 55.10 (2009): 965–967. Print.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.