It All Starts With the Gut
By Shanuka Kadupitiyage
It’s been said that you are what you eat. If that may be the case, it would be better to say you are what’s in your gut.
If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, let me introduce you to the wide world of the human microbiome.
Germaphobes beware! I have to regretfully announce to you that germs (microbes such as bacteria, virus, protozoa and fungi) outnumber our human cells, ten to one. Meaning that for every cell in your body, there are ten microbes clinging on to your skin, or inside your body. And you’ll find them everywhere - on our skin, in our mouth and nostrils, our intestines, even our urinary tract and vaginal tract for women (yes, even there).
Now, if you’ve already reached for your sanitiser and you’re thinking how to get rid of all these microbes occupying your body, I urge you to stop, because without these little organisms living on and inside of us, life would never be the same.
That’s because these microbes do a lot for us and our health. You could even say they pay rent for living space inside us, and no one would want to lose a tenant who pays rent as good as these microbes.
Turns out you need them to live a healthy, happy life as much as they need you to provide a happy home with plenty of nutritious food. Scientific studies have proven that having a good balance of beneficial bacteria in your body has a wide range of benefits, including:
= Preventing skin infections such as eczema and skin conditions such as acne
= Digesting milk (even in babies)
= Boosting immunity
= Absorbing nutrients into your body
= Preventing infections in the urinal and vaginal tracts and many more.
Among the many places where microbes reside in our bodies, the intestines are one of the most important of them all. Like many have said before, it all starts with the gut. Having a healthy balance of microbes in your gut boosts the overall health of your body’s microbiome of microorganisms. Therefore, it’s important that we all take good care of the beneficial bacteria and other microbes found in our guts.
Here are some important things to remember when taking care of your helpful little tenants.
Don’t go off balance
If you noticed while reading that having a good balance of beneficial microbes is the key, then you should know that not all microbes living in or on your body are good for you. However, because the beneficial bacteria are already established, they make sure that the bad microbes don’t go out of control.
When you take antibiotics, regularly bathe with antibacterial soap and have overall bad hygiene and dietary habits, this balance of good and bad microbes is thrown off kilter and your health takes a turn for the worse as well. Diarrhea, skin irritation, higher susceptibility to infections and many other bowel diseases could ensue.
So first of all, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t eat or drink too many processed food products or stuff with high sugar all the time. Exercise regularly and drink plenty of water.
Eat food rich in probiotics
Make sure to eat plenty of food that has good bacteria such as pickles, yoghurt or kimchi. Some companies offer probiotic drinks such as Yakult that are special cultures of beneficial bacteria.
Such foods introduce beneficial bacteria to the gut and will help stabilise any unbalance of good and bad microbes in the gut.
Once you have re-established balance among your gut microbes, it's time to keep that balance well maintained. For that, you need to eat plenty of food called prebiotics that help maintain this good balance.
So, make sure to eat food such as whole grains, onions, garlic, fresh fruit, lentils, oats, which are called prebiotic food that will assist you in this.
Take care of yourself
Unfortunately, there is no easy hack to having good gut health. All it takes is to take care of yourself and your health. Manage stress, get a good night’s rest, eat healthy and get plenty of exercise. Needless to say, it's the simple basics that will go a long way in taking care of your gut.