End the bloat! You can optimize your digestion by eating more nutritious foods containing naturally occurring probiotics.
Probiotics are being added to certain processed foods and promoted on television to help with digestion:
- is this just a current buzz-word to attract attention?
- are probiotics right for you?
What they’re talking about in the TV commercials is the balance of good and bad organisms in the gut.
Should I Take Probiotics for Healthy Digestion?
Two things are commonly found when cultures are grown from gut organisms:
- there is an abundance of bad bacteria (or “bad bugs”)
- there is an absence of good bacteria
When there is an abundance of bad bacteria and few good bacteria in the gut, this is called gut dysbiosis. It is not a sign of good health.
Modern lifestyles sometimes make it difficult to keep the human body healthy. Here are five things to avoid in order to optimize your digestion.
5 Lifestyle Factors that are Bad for Your Intestines
Some experts believe that when digestion is unhealthy and the stomach and intestines are overloaded with toxicity from the standard modern diet and environmental exposures, that the human body pads the vital organs with extra visceral and subcutaneous fat as a protective defense.
In other words, the waistline grows.
It may be that a healthier digestive system negates the need for the body to start padding organs with extra fat.
In order to get your own gut healthier, you need to know what the danger zones are.
…probiotics are required for healthy gut microbial balance and therefore also for good general health”
Here are some key causes of unhealthy imbalance in the gut:
1. Stress Is Bad for Your Digestion
Stress causes a change in gut pH which negatively impacts the growth of good gut bacteria.
2. Not Enough Fiber Is Bad for Your Colon
Good bacteria feed on fiber. If you don’t have enough fiber, you starve the good guys.
The Physicians’ Committee on Responsible Medicine has cited numerous research studies that have validated that an increase in fiber decreases the risk of colorectal cancer.
3. Sugar Can Create Intestinal Permeability
Sugar feeds bad bacteria, which might contribute to leaky gut.
4. Trans-Fats Are Bad for Your Digestion
A diet high in trans-fats and hydrogenated oils will reduce bile flow (bile helps regulate gut pH and food transit time needed to support the growth of good gut bacteria).
5. Antibiotics Can Sometimes Impair Gut Health
Antibiotics (which can come from a prescribed pill or from commercially prepared meat like chicken, beef or pork) may kill off the good gut bacteria (but if your doctor tells you to take antibiotics, follow that advice. After the round of medication is finished, you may need to reseed your gut with new, good bacteria).
Probiotics and the Benefits of a Balanced Gut
Is your body’s digestive process optimized?
Many people today have some sort of digestive issue, whether they are aware of it or not.
Healthy probiotics have been shown to improve digestive function.
A healthy balance of gut bacteria has these additional benefits:
- improves or modulates the gut immune system
- reduces the number of bad or unhealthy bacteria
- helps to maintain a healthy gut mucosal lining; this assists in blocking unhealthy organisms and foreign bodies from crossing into the bloodstream
- helps to improve liver function
It’s my belief that all of us need to go on a periodic re-seeding of the beneficial bacteria with a high quality probiotic.
Consideration must also be given to supplying the required food for these good bacteria in the form of a prebiotic.
For those with a large imbalance of bad to good bacteria, I institute a type of weed-and-feed program:
- the “weed” is to kill off the bad bacteria;
- the “feed” is to re-populate the gut with the good bacteria.
Improve Gut Health with High-Quality Prebiotics and Probiotics
A few years ago I was meeting with a friend who had a strong nutritional background. We both knew the importance of probiotics but he said that corporate-America was going to make probiotics the new buzz word for the beginning of the 21st century.
These companies looked at test results of comprehensive stool analysis which indicated that many Americans have a proliferation of bad bacteria or bugs in their digestive tract and too few healthy bacteria.
Almost everyone can be affected by an imbalance of proper gut bacteria.
Unfortunately, the more research that accumulates the more we find that gut problems can be a contributing factor to just about every health condition.
The gut is closely related to our immune response – a big part of a healthy gut is a balance of gut micro-flora or bacteria.
Probiotics are a big factor in maintaining a healthy gut barrier to help keep unhealthy organisms and antibodies from entering the blood stream. Healthy probiotics have been shown to improve liver function.
There are a couple of issues that need to be addressed when talking about probiotics:
1. Are all probiotics the same?
2. Do we need to feed the probiotic organisms?
Probiotics is not just a buzz-word used to promote commercial food products. Probiotics are required for healthy gut microbial balance and therefore also for good general health.
“Bifidobacterium strain has been shown to have certain antimicrobial properties that may inhibit the growth of pathogens in the intestines [and] has also demonstrated protective properties against rotavirus infection. It may also have a favorable effect in treating human inflammatory bowel diseases.” – Kamal Patel / Examine.com
Our gut biome – the good bacteria in our bodies – evolved with us over the millennia in a mutually beneficial relationship. These conveyor-belt foods we eat now are only a very recent development in the context of entire human history. Can our biome even make sense of processed grains, trans-fats, and high-fructose corn syrup when consumed in relentless amounts?
Additional Sources for Good Digestion:
Definition of Dysbiosis – http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-gut-dysbiosis.htm
Insights into the Gut Biome – http://terrywahls.com/response-to-michael-polan/
Your Probiotic May Be Lying to You – https://examine.com/nutrition/your-probiotic-may-be-lying-to-you/
Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Repair: Role of Microbiome, Infection, and Nutrition – https://www.hindawi.com/journals/grp/si/426290/cfp/
New Research: Labdoor Tests Probiotic Formulas and Ranks the Top-10 – https://labdoor.com/rankings/probiotics
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