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6 Things That Can Mess Up Your Digestion

End the bloat! You can optimize your digestion by eating more nutritious foods containing naturally occurring probiotics.

Gut health refers to the condition of your gastrointestinal tract and – in particular – your ability to digest food and absorb nutrients.

A healthy gut has a microbiome inhabiting your intestines, comprised of trillions of microorganisms.

If the garden of your microbiome is growing well, then these microorganisms are flourishing in the correct amount and ratios – performing in symbiotic harmony. However, sometimes these organisms get out of balance. The video included lower within this article illuminates this concept.

Should I Take Probiotics for Healthy Digestion?

article by Jim Harris and Dane Findley

Probiotics are being added to certain processed foods and promoted on television to help with digestion:

  • is this just a current buzzword to attract attention?
  • are probiotics right for you?

They’re talking about the balance of good and bad organisms in the gut in the TV commercials.

Two things are commonly found when cultures are grown from gut organisms:

  • there is an abundance of bad bacteria (or “bad bugs”);
  • good bacteria are absent.

This is called gut dysbiosis when bad bacteria are abundant, and there are few good bacteria in the gut. It is not a sign of good health.

Modern lifestyles sometimes make it difficult to keep the human body healthy. Here are six things to avoid to optimize your digestion.

healthy couple improving digestion

6 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, 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.

To get your gut healthier, you need to know the danger zones.

…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 a leaky gut.

4. Trans-Fats Are Bad for Your Digestion

A diet high in trans-fats, seed oils, 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.

senior couple dancing at beach

5.  Antibiotics Can Sometimes Impair Gut Health

Antibiotics – which can come from a prescribed pill or commercially prepared meat like chicken, beef, or pork – may kill off the good gut bacteria.

If your doctor tells you to take antibiotics, follow that advice. After the round of medication, you may need to re-seed your gut with new, good bacteria.

6. An Absence of Fermented Foods Can Deplete Important Probiotics from the Gut

Is your body’s digestive process optimized?

Many people have some sort of digestive issue, whether they know it or not.

Healthy probiotics have been shown to improve digestive function, and this can be accomplished, in part, by ingesting more fermented foods such as yogurt (including the non-dairy, unsweetened type from coconut), sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, kombucha, and kimchi.

Probiotics and the Benefits of a Balanced Gut

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 by supporting the mucosal lining, which assists in blocking unhealthy organisms and foreign bodies from crossing into the circulatory system;
  • and helps to improve liver function.
probiotics after age 50 for better digestion
What do we know now that we didn’t know then? The gut is the second brain of the human body (probiotics can be key to balanced digestion, especially after age 50).

I believe that all of us need to go on a periodic re-seeding of the beneficial bacteria with fermented foods and 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 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 would make probiotics the new buzzword at the beginning of the 21st century.

These companies looked at test results of comprehensive stool analysis, which indicated that many citizens 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.

Dane Findley age 54 helps others achieve stellar wellness and a healthier physique.
Dane earned a master’s degree in Counseling Depth Psychology from Pacific Graduate Institute. His past professional adventures include being a Therapist and Discharge Planner at a Dual-Diagnosis Hospital Inpatient Treatment Program, Digital Marketing Director for a real estate brokerage, and decades spent as a professional fitness and Pilates trainer. Today, Dane is a Healthy-Lifestyle Advocate, and he curates the popular Quality of Life Newsletter – a free weekly update for creative types who want to increase their daily joy. Currently, he’s facilitating the new online course “Silver and Strong: How to Get Fantastically Fit After Age 50,” which helps people learn to eat for lean strength. Click-through for details.

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 bloodstream. 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 buzzword 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

food-based probiotics for healthier digestion
Cultured coconut milk – a dairy-free yogurt – contains naturally occurring probiotics.

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 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

All About the Microbiome – https://chriskresser.com/the-gut-microbiome/

Who do you know who might find digestive optimization helpful? Inspire and educate your friends by sharing this article.

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