Let that sink in for a second... Just think: for every cell in your body, you have 9 cells of bacteria living in and on your body. It can be a little creepy if you think about it too much.
Most of this bacteria is living inside your intestinal tract, otherwise known as your “gut”. The health of this organism is paramount to the health of your body. Why?
80% of your immune system spends most of its time around your gut. The health of your gut bacteria and the health of your immune system are vitally linked. When your gut bacteria is balanced, your immune system is also balanced. But when it’s out of balance, so is your immune system. Signs that your immune system is out of balance are: food and seasonal allergies, chronic inflammation, chronic sinusitis, and colds and flus that linger for weeks.
The highest concentration of brain cells (neurons) outside of your brain is around your gut. Have you ever felt a “gut feeling” about something? Frequently referred to as the “lower brain”, how the neurons surrounding you gut interact with your gut bacteria is becoming more and more apparent in many health issues. The “Gut/Brain Connection” is a major part of mainstream research. Scientists are discovering connections between your gut bacteria and seemingly unrelated neurological issues such as anxiety and autism.
Our North American way of eating hasn’t helped to keep our gut bacteria balanced. Most traditional cultures regularly consume fermented foods like natural yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, which feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut. In North America, however, we tend to do the opposite. Processed food, refined sugar, chlorine, and antibiotics are major causes of a gut bacteria imbalance.
When your digestive system has 75% beneficial bacteria, your body (digestion, immunity, brain) is able to create balance. But when the prevalent bacteria in your gut is “bad” bacteria (bacteria that doesn’t assist us), they allow for an overgrowth of yeast, molds, and fungus in our gut - as well as many digestive symptoms, like bloating, gas, distention, pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Balanced:
- Eat whole, unrefined foods. Remove all refined sugars and grains which feed the “bad” bacteria
- Eat naturally fermented foods daily, and take a probiotic supplement. Probiotic supplements contain high amounts of beneficial bacteria - an important part of finding balance.
- Understand the causes of your digestive symptoms, and re-balance them. All digestive symptoms are signs that food isn’t being properly broken down and can feed the “bad” bacteria.
Keep your digestive system, immune system, and brain working optimally by keeping your gut bacteria healthy and happy!