There is more and more evidence pointing to the fact that gut health is very important for good health. According to scientists, what we all need is a healthy gut “microbiome”. This simply means that our digestive system should have a balance and variety of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbes, which help to fight disease and keep us in the best shape possible! To emphasise the importance of our digestive systems, it may surprise you to know that, 70-80% of our immune cells are in our gut, and so keeping our gut in good shape undoubtedly keeps us in good health.
We know that there is a strong connection between our brain and our gut, a simple example being the so-called “worry tummy”, which children can complain of when they are anxious about something. In the same vein, ongoing “stress” may result in symptoms of IBS. Conversely, there is now strong evidence to show that the gut has a strong influence over our brains. In other words, poor digestive health can result in feelings of anxiety, irritability and depression. It can even influence our metabolism, leading to potential weight gain and obesity.
So, how do we build and keep a healthy “microbiome”? These simple steps can help.
Eat fresh, seasonal foods, avoiding processed food and drink where possible
Keep foods high in salt, refined sugar and saturated fats to a minimum
Include natural unsweetened yogurt, seeds and fermented foods (sauerkraut, kimchi or kefir) in your diet
Keep alcohol intake to a minimum and avoid “binge drinking” – but a glass or two of some alcoholic drinks (eg. red wine), may actually be beneficial to health!
It has also been established that many common medications can have a negative effect on our gut health (eg. antibiotics, antacids, anti-inflammatories and antacids), as they can diminish the balance of good gut bacteria. If you are on long term or regular medication it can be very useful to take a good quality pro-biotic, including lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. You may also wish to look for more natural alternatives to support your wellbeing.
Some simple steps in the right direction can make a significant difference. Our gut is often called our “second brain”, and so by keeping our gut healthy we can keep our brains happy too!
For more information and advice contact
Daniela Karsten, RS.Hom., Dip. Hom., ACH
via the link www.danielakarsten.co.uk
© Daniela Karsten