You’re never alone. No, it’s not Big Brother that’s watching you, but the microbiome that’s living in you. You have billions of microscopic fungi, bacteria, archaea, virus and eukaryotes living in and on your body. In fact, some estimates say they outnumber human cells by ten to one. They play an important role in your digestion, aid the immune system, produce vitamins, fight off bad bacteria or fungi and they even affect our mental health. Some things, like a round of antibiotics, can disrupt the balance and that’s when you need to increase your good gut bacteria.
Your doctor may have told you about probiotics and fermented food.
Whether you grab a container of yogurt with a live culture or head for the sauerkraut or kimchi, both fermented food and probiotics will help get your gut back to normal. It can prevent those horrible days after a round of antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria with the bad and leave the fungi and other microbes without good bacteria to keep them in check. Eating kefir, live culture yogurt, fermented vegetables, kimchi, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh can help you get your microbiome back in order.
Feed the survivors.
Those bacteria you introduced with the probiotics or those that survived antibiotics are fragile and go through a lot of changes, including temperature changes and changes in pH. They need food that helps make the transition from the container to the gut easier. That food that makes them more tolerant and hardy are carbohydrates we can’t digest. Prebiotics, the food of healthy bacteria include onions, spinach, beans, garlic, asparagus, leeks, whole wheat, chicory root, bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, raw dandelion greens, oats and soybeans
Cut out sugar and fat!
It’s not enough to feed the good bacteria, you have to quit feeding the fungi and bad bacteria. Sugar and even artificial sweeteners can make the bad boys happy. Both of those cause an imbalance of bacteria in the gut called dysbiosis. One study in 2015 showed that artificial sweeteners, sugar and fat affected the balancing act of the bacteria and other microbes in the gut. Not only does it affect digestion, it can affect behavior and brain functioning. Eat healthy. Go with more vegetables and less meat in your diet.
- Cut out stress. Stress can kill friendly bacteria, whether it comes from environmental stress like it being too hot or cold, day-to-day stress, lack of sleep or a shift in your sleep/wake pattern. You’ll have happy bacteria when you do.
- Quit smoking. Studies show that smoking boosted the production of bad bacteria and halted the growth of healthy bacteria.
- Watch out for the hand sanitizing and the cleaning chemicals you use. If you disinfect everything and use antibacterial soaps, including hand soap, you might be promoting the growth of lachnospiraceae, a gut bacteria linked to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- Exercise is a cure all, even for lopsided bacterial count. You can boost your healthy bacteria with a program of regular exercise. Come check out our free trial days at 180 Fitness.