Updated: Jan 26, 2021
The gut microbiome takes place in the digestive system and contains many microorganisms that strengthen or weaken our health. It can impact digestion, metabolism, immune function, skin complexion and brain health. The microorganisms in our gut vary from person to person. Diet and other health related factors like stress, sleep, lack of exercise, and little variety in diet choices can alter our gut microbiome and the types of microorganisms that are present.
Signs you may have an unhealthy gut:
- Upset stomach including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn after meals
- Diet high in processed foods and added sugar as these products may create inflammation in the gut, and weaken beneficial bacteria
- Eczema or acne
- Poor sleep quality or constant fatigue
Luckily, there are a variety of foods we can eat that support a healthy gut microbiome! These food components are known as probiotics and prebiotics.
PROBIOTICS consist of a variety of live bacteria (microorganisms) that help maintain a healthy gut. They improve digestion, regularity, and immune health. Listed are a few common probiotics and their main functions:
- Lactobacillus (includes many different variations like lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus rhamnosus etc.)
o Prevent and treat diarrhea and other bowel conditions
o Prevents overgrowth of Candida in women’s health
o Protect against unhealthy bacteria
o Improves abdominal pain, gas or bloating
- Streptococcus thermophilus
o Produce the enzyme lactase which is responsible for breaking down and digesting dairy products
- Saccharomyces boulardii
o Prevents and treats diarrhea
- Yogurt with live active cultures
- Cottage cheese
- Sour kraut
PREBIOTICS come from a type of fiber that act as a food for probiotics. Probiotics can feed off prebiotics, therefore creating an abundance of beneficial bacteria for gut health.
- Unripe bananas
- Nuts and seeds
Overall, there are a variety of foods we can include in our diet to support not only our gut health, but other factors like immunity, metabolism, skin complexion and possibly even brain health. Our gut stems to other organs and parts of our body making it a crucial component to overall health and wellness.