Good gut bacteria is essential for health. The importance of gut health has become mainstream, with more research indicating the connection between healthy gut bacteria and general well-being.
Unbalanced gut flora may affect your immune system, weight, mood, and hormones. We live in a society of antibiotic use and high consumption of processed foods, preservatives, additives and “sugar-free” drinks. This blog will cover 10 tips that can help to improve good bacteria in the gut and improve your health.
A great ted talk lecture on how gut health can affect you
Why do we need gut bacteria?
Our gut has both good and bad bacteria. It is thought that in a healthy adult, 85% of gut flora is good bacteria with 15% being not so good . However, with many diets consisting of high sugar, additives, preservatives, and simple carbohydrates, this healthy ratio can be altered.
Alterations to gut flora has been linked to autism, depression, autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease and type I diabetes.
To help support happy gut bacteria, they need to be nourished with a healthy diet and lifestyle choices. The choices we make each day, can positively or negatively effect our gut health. Because of the importance of a healthy microbiome in our gut, let’s look at the top 10 tips to improve your gut bacteria.
Why is food essential to gut health
1. Eat fermented foods
Eating foods that have been fermented helps to boost your gut flora by supplementing
Examples of fermented foods include yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha and tempeh.
Natural or Greek yoghurts are a better alternative to flavoured yogurts. Because flavoured yogurts are generally high in sugar. Even better, make your own yoghurt! It’s so easy to make and you know exactly what’s in it. Click here to view my recommended yoghurt maker.
Research has shown that a diet containing yoghurt can help symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Also, research has shown that plain yoghurt improves the gut bacterial and useful in people with lactose intolerance (1).
2. Probiotic supplements
Probiotic supplements contain billions of bacteria. Probiotic supplements are best used in people who may have an imbalance or after a recent course of antibiotics.
The best selling and my personal favourite probiotic supplement is blackmores.
3.Foods high in Polyphenols
Polyphenols are plant substances that are useful in lowering blood pressure, reducing inflammation, reduce cholesterol and antioxidant in nature. Some foods that contain high amounts of polyphenols include :
- green tea (see my post on the benefits of green tea)
- Dark chocolate
- Red wine
- Dark chocolate
4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables
Eating a natural, plant based diet is beneficial not only to your general health, but for your gut flora.
Studies have shown that meat-eaters promote different gut bacteria growth than those eating a vegetarian diet (1). Researchers believe the natural fibre in plant-based foods may benefit “the good” gut bacteria. This also encourages low inflammation, weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. Whereby, those who eat a lot of red meats may have more bad bacteria in their gut.
Tip: eat more Bananas as bananas supply your gut with inulin. Inulin is a type of fibre that helps good bacteria grow.
If you really struggle consuming good amounts of vegetables in your diet. This is one of my favourites and it contains prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics in the form of wholesome natural foods which are high in natural fibre. Increasing your intake of prebiotics is a simple way to improve gut health. Prebiotics in the form of:
1. Healthline. (2018). 10 Ways to Improve Your Gut Bacteria, Based on Science. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/improve-gut-bacteria
2. CSIRO.(2018). Gut health and weight loss. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.csiro.au/~/media/News-releases/2018/gut-health-to-tackle-obesity/1800623-Gut-health-and-Weight-loss-Report–Jan-2019FINALlrsinglepag.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwjlwYGYxvnqAhW3xDgGHQDzB9MQFjADegQIAhAB&usg=AOvVaw2VAV3zXwA9n2Mig2Qo63wC
3. Medicalnewstoday. (2018). 10 ways to improve gut health. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325293#eat-less-sugar