Five fantastic reasons to improve your gut flora...
1) Glowing clear skin
A sign that the gut is in good shape, people who have good microbial profiles (i.e lots of good bacteria, pro-biotics or flora) have hydrated, supple, clear and plump skin. This is because the good microbes in the gut help us digest and utilise fatty acids that makeup the skin's waterproof barrier preventing water loss and making an anti microbial shield. They also help us reduce inflammation, absorb vital nutrients and play a role in synthesising some essential vitamins.
2) Reduced inflammation
Bad bacteria, candida and viruses, as well as chemicals and food intolerance's cause damage to the gut lining increasing it's permeability - also known as leaky gut. These gaps in the lining allow toxins, poorly digested foods and microbial invaders to pass through, the immune system detects them, reacts and causes inflammation as it attempts to fight them. Studies show a correlation between inflammation in the gut and inflammatory skin disorders such as acne and rosacea, as well as autoimmune diseases such as eczema, Crohn's disease, arthritis and Psorisis.
3) Improved immune response
More than 70% of the immune system lies within the gut so an inflamed leaking gut has a large affect on our overall health. Most people don’t realise that the gut provides a protective barrier between our bloodstream and the external world. What’s inside your gut is actually “outside” your body. The gut has to deal with the pathogens in everything you ingest and therefore needs to have an effective immune system in place to ward off attacks and prevent illness. Boosting the action of the immune cells are certain strains of gut flora that prevent pathogens from being absorbed. This is why it is so important to have colonies of good bacteria in the gut. A strong immune system reduces the number of colds and flu and other infectious conditions.
4) Better mood, memory, health and digestion
Having a healthy gut with good bacterial flora helps maximise serotonin levels.
Although serotonin is a neurotransmitter, it is estimated that up to 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract by our good bacteria, rather than in the brain. Serotonin helps regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function in the body. A healthy gut flora improves your mood and reduces cravings. Low levels levels of serotonin are linked to depression, anxiety, irritability, OCD, ADHD, lack of focus and lowered learning ability. In the gut, low seratonin can cause cravings, overeating, low nutrient absorption, poor digestion and either diarrhea or constipation. It makes a lot of sense to look after the good microbes in our gut if we want to feel our best!
5) A better nights sleep
A good nights sleep is vital to our skin and overall wellbeing. At the end of the day our serotonin is converted to melatonin which is required for a deep restful nights sleep, so having optimal serotonin levels is very important. Other beneficial bacteria in our gut are associated with higher levels of GABA production and also increase the amount and response of the GABA receptors in the brain. When there are more GABA receptors in the brain, more GABA is being put to good use. This is a good thing, because GABA is required for us to sleep properly and low levels have been associated with mood disorders, like chronic depression and insomnia. A healthy gut is also a comfortable gut, this means we can sleep more easily without the pain of bloating and difficult digestion.
So what can you do to get your gut feeling healthy?
1) REDUCE: Antibiotics, sugars, dairy, processed foods, trans fats, genetically modified foods, alcohol, gluten, chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, plastics, chemical cleaners and hormone disrupting preservatives etc.
2) REPAIR: Bone broth (nicer than it sounds and available freeze dried and organic at our clinic), fermented foods like kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, natural organic yoghurt etc.
3) PRO-BIOTICS: We love the Hyperbiotics range that we import and stock from the USA, these pass through the stomach undigested allowing them to reach the gut intact to release viable good bacteria.
4) PRE-BIOTICS and FIBRE: Lots of (where possible unsprayed or organic) fruit and vegetables, linseed, chia seeds, apples, oats, asparagus, honey, avocados, garlic, onion, chickpeas, lentils, chicory root, and artichokes are all good pre-biotic sources.
5) HEALTHY FATS: Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, coconut oil and oily fish.
6) WATER: Drink more - keeping hydrated is vital, it also helps to keep us regular and this makes everyone feel better!