Good Gut Bacteria and Why You Need It
Today we are talking all about bacteria…gut bacteria.
Before you get all grossed out, not all bacteria is the nasty, make-you-sick kind. In fact, there are certain bacteria that are incredibly helpful to your body for digestion, immunity and overall health.
Your gut is full of both good and bad bacteria that is literally the center of all health for your body. This center is called your microbiome and is responsible for everything from digestive comfort to energy levels. It is incredibly important that your gut bacteria is in check if you want to live a healthy, vibrant life.
Your Eating Mindset
Before we dive into practical ways to increase your body’s good bacteria, I want to talk about your mindset toward eating. For many, what they eat is a source of stress and overwhelm. This can actually have a negative effect on your gut bacteria due to the hormones released as a result of stress. Because stress causes your body to operate in fight or flight mode, the blood flow to your gut can be compromised as your body redirects blood for what it deems better usage during your fight or flight. This is why people commonly get sick or have digestive issues during periods of high stress. The problem is that your gut bacteria plays a vital role in your body’s ability to handle stress, thus perpetuating a vicious cycle.
It is incredibly important to your gut health and in turn, your overall health, that you get a nutritional plan in place that reduces stress and anxiety around food. Your body simply cannot digest food efficiently while stressed. So, figuring out a way to eat that allows you to feel confident and relaxed is essential to balancing out your gut bacteria.
Macros are King
Gone are the days where calories are the gold standard of healthy eating. Today we know that true health has little to do with the calories you take in and more to do with the percentages of macronutrients you eat each day. For optimal gut health, it’s important you eat your macronutrients: proteins, fats and carbs, in the right percentages.
Hydrochloric acid is the body’s tool for breaking down protein. When we are young, our bodies produce 3-4 quarts of HCl per day. However, as we get older and require more from our digestive system by flooding it with processed, hard to digest foods, we start to see a decrease in our HCl levels. This is where most digestive problems begin.
Daily Bowel Movements
One mark of a healthy gut is a daily bowel movement. I am guessing that’s not something you want to chat about over dinner, but when your body’s microbiome is functioning properly, you will be able to digest your foods and get rid of waste more efficiently.
How to Improve Gut Health
So, how do you ensure your gut is as healthy as it can be? Here are a few tips.
Eat a whole foods based diet.
Supplying your body with the nutrients and enzymes it needs will optimize digestion and overall gut health. Your body knows how to digest whole foods effectively, but struggles to work with the chemicals found in most processed foods.
Take an effective probiotic.
Supplementing your good-gut bacteria with a probiotic is critical to overall gut health. I like my clients to rotate between spore and soil based probiotics to get variety in the “gut garden”.
There has been a good amount of research that shows active people have healthier guts. You don’t need to kill it in the gym for an hour every day to reap the gut health benefits of activity. Just get out there and walk, run or play.
Your body needs sleep to recover from the day’s activity and stabilize hormone levels. Depriving your body of sleep puts it into survival mode which can negatively impact gut health.
Gut health is critical to fat burning, digestion, a strong immune system and overall energy. It is important that you start at the top and work your way down in terms of digestion and your microbiome. Your mindset matters, and will dictate much of your body’s overall functioning. Having a nutritional plan in place that minimizes stress will go a long way to improving your overall health. To find out more about how to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle that minimizes stress and maximizes results, check out my Wholistic Blueprint online program.