Believe it or not, a good gut is critical for optimal health. In fact, you can optimize your overall health just by maintaining a healthy gut.
If our brain and heart could talk, they would beg us to take care of our gut. That’s because poor gut health has been linked to heart disease, mental health conditions and a list of other health issues.
In this article we will:
- Explain the difference between good and bad bacteria
- Help you understand what your microbiome is
- Learn how you can achieve optimal gut health
- Find out where you stand with your current gut health
You are going to start seeing more about this topic pop up online, on your tv and in your doctor’s office because researchers are uncovering some major things that are about to transform the health community and BLOW UP! We are about to start unlocking major health mysteries and most of them lead to our gut health.
Disclosures: This post contains affiliate links. LEARN MORE HERE (but basically it just means that if you purchase the item through the link on this page, we get a small commission and are super appreciative!)
What does Microbiome mean?
As we do in every article, let’s understand the “what” and that is the word Microbiome. I don’t want to discredit our readers and assume you do not know what that is but I think it is important to touch on for the sake of this rest of this post.
Think of a Microbiome as your body’s very own ecosystem. Its made up of trillions of microbes (bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that live on and in your body.
In this article, we are specifically talking about the gut microbiome.
Your gut microbiome is necessary and is needed to help fight infections, keep you well, synthesize your vitamins and help run your metabolism. Microbes are necessary for digestion.
Your microbiome starts forming as soon as you leave your mother’s womb. Since the womb is sterile, you were exposed to microbial as when you left your mother’s vagina at delivery. Infants take on microbiota similar to the ones on their mother’s vagina.
It is so important for babies to be fully exposed to these bacteria because this is the beginning of a healthy microbiome for them. This is needed to build immunity, their digestive system, and the brain.
Babies born through cesarean have reduced microbial in their gut then vaginally delivered babies. It’s even been shown that these babies have more food allergies and asthma.
A mother’s vaginal microbiota is so important that cesarean birthed babies have altered microbiomes because the bacteria were not passed on to the baby which long term will result in immune disorders.
Have you ever heard of “vaginal seeding”? This is basically when a mother’s vaginal birth secretions or bacteria are transferred to her baby after a cesarean is performed so the baby will undergo the “bacteria baptism” the same as a baby born vaginally.
Babies also consume bacteria from their mother’s breast milk. This is also a great way to build immunity and encourage brain development.
It’s at this early age where the immune system is trained to attack bad bacteria and leave the good ones alone.
Starting as early as age 1, your microbiome starts changing because of internal and external factors are being introduced. Things like food, toxins, habits and your environment can influence our microbiome which affects your gut health.
Through the course of your life, you will experience changes that will naturally shift your microbiome. These include diet changes, pregnancy, and aging alters your microbiome as well as malnutrition, diseases, and antibiotic drugs.
The combination of microbes in your gut can affect how you store energy provided by the food you eat and how we absorb calories. It said to be one of the reasons why some of us are overweight.
The trick to good gut health is finding a way to get rid of the bad bacteria without killing off the good bacteria since our bodies desperately need the good ones.
One way is to just let the good microbes work. They naturally protect us from harmful pathogens by colonizing. By doing this, there is less room for bad bacteria to take over.
Biohacking is simply hacking your own body’s biology in order to optimize your health.
It’s intentionally looking for ways to transform your body by what you eat and making adjustments to your lifestyle so you can live your best life possible.
In this case, we’re simply finding out the state of our gut health and creating a lifestyle that supports a healthy microbiome.
The Good, Bad and the Ugly… Bacteria that is
Your gut (including your digestive tract) is filled with around 500 different species of bacteria. Some of them are harmful to your health while others are absolutely necessary.
In fact, having a variety of good bacteria in your gut can strengthen your immune system, improve anxiety and depression, help you lose weight, and provides other benefits.
Good bacteria helps us break down and absorb our food. We need our gut to consist of mostly good bacteria. They are essential for our survival. Here are a few more benefits of good bacteria:
- Boost immunity to fight off certain infections and diseases
- Improves metabolism and combat obesity
- Helps us detox harmful toxins
- Improve symptoms of depression
Taking care of these good little creatures is the key to optimal gut health and the purpose of this article. We will get into that further down.
Bad bacteria can make you ill or even kill you. The good news for us is these bad microbial come from outside influences so… we have the control!
Symptoms of poor gut health
Now that understand this little world that consists of trillion little creatures living in our digestive system. We also know that we absolutely need good ones and need to keep out the bad ones.
Here are a few ways an unhealthy gut can show itself:
- Stomach issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea or constipation is a huge sign that something is off. It is very difficult for an unhealthy microbiome to properly digest food resulting in these issues.
- Weight changes are also a sign that your gut is imbalanced and will impair your body from absorbing nutrients, storing fat and regulate blood sugar.
- Skin conditions are caused by damage to your gut. It’s actually a symptom of leaky gut and happens when there is inflammation in your gut and is caused by poor eating habits \nd even allergies. It shows itself as a rash or even eczema.
- Sugar cravings, believe it or not, is a sign that your body is low on good bacteria. This is caused by eating processed foods or refined sugars. When you give in to these cravings, you are causing more damage to your gut.
- Problems sleeping causes gut issues which leads to more sleep issues. If you are having problems falling asleep, take a look at this article.
- Intolerance to certain foods is the result of food not properly digesting because of poor quality gut bacteria. This will lead to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, and digestive issues.
- Being overweight is a huge sign of an unhealthy microbiome.
All of these are symptoms of having poor gut health and can lead to more serious health problems which can affect your heart, brain, immune system and even result in cancer.
Factors that put your Microbiome at risk
There are many factors that damage our gut Microbiome. Stress, eating processed foods, sugar and even certain medications can invite bad bacteria in and destroy the good ones that are supposed to protect us.
Other factors include age, environment, lifestyle choices, and genetics.
The great news for us is most of these factors are within our control. Just making a few lifestyle changes and being more intentional about what we eat is a big step forward to optimal gut health.
How we can easily optimize our gut health
Optimal gut health requires us to pay attention to what is on our plate at every meal. It means being intentional about what we eat and lifestyle choices we make daily.
Here are 7 ways you can easily maintain a healthy gut
- Chew your food: We should chew each mouthful of food at least 50 times also known as predigest your food. This will ensure our food is ready to be swallowed and digested properly. I know this sounds extreme but it works. If you have bloating or gas after you eat, this will definitely help with that issue. After 2 weeks of doing this, you will chew your food properly without counting.
- Bone Broth: If you have read a few of our articles, you know we love some bone broth and for a good reason! It’s a new superfood we should all consume every day. One of its main benefits is it aids in healthy digestion and leaky gut. Collagen is so important for all of us. It is the main protein in bone broth. I am a vegetarian but I love bone broth. In fact, more and more vegetarians and vegans are consuming this superfood because they understand how beneficial it is. Bone broth has been said to be a gut powerhouse and It’s very easy to digest.
- Blueberries: Not only are they high in antioxidants and great for your brain, but they are also amazing for your gut. They help promote and support better gut health by improving inflammation, regulates glucose and encourages the growth of good bacteria. Check this out! Because 70% of our body’s immune functions are located in our digestive system, these little blue superfoods also play a huge role in our overall immune health. Grad a bowl of these a day and your gut will thank you.
- 5. Peppermint Essential Oil: Calms angry gut and soothing for gut. You can inhale it, consume it or apply it topically. Add a drop of two to your drink or smoothie.
- Ginger: Fresh ground ginger is great for digestion. It helps with nausea and morning sickness. Include freshly grounded ginger in your diet by adding to your food or beverage. Try adding it to your bone broth… Powerful!
- Prebiotic and Probiotics: Probiotics are live bacteria that are beneficial and probiotics promote the growth of probiotics. Think about it like this. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria that are already in your gut. This allows your good bacteria to grow, multiply and do their job. Probiotics maintain and restore a healthy balance of microflora. You can get them from eating certain foods or taking a supplement. For a list of foods that are a good source of both pre and probiotics, keep reading. I will have a full list of the best foods for gut health.
- Fermented foods: Sourcrout, pickled veggies, Kombucha, wasabi, miso, apple cider, olives. These are good probiotics.
Best foods for gut health
From this point forward when you prepare your meals, ask yourself “self… what will I feed my microbiome today?” This is an absolute MUST if you want to keep your gut healthy. So be careful what you decide to put into your mouth because it will end up in your gut microbiome. That will change it for the good or bad.
I have here a list of THE BEST foods that will optimize your gut health TODAY!
If you are a person with a heartbeat, you should take your gut health seriously.
You can get everything you need to optimize a healthy gut from the food you eat. If you are unable to consume the right foods for the job, you will need to supplement it in other ways. I have here a few amazing products that will add do just that.
In general, vitamins are safe for people to use, though you should always check with your doctor before beginning a new supplement. Some vitamins can be dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, which can occur due to long-term use of corticosteroids, an HIV/AIDS infection or organ transplants.
You may also need to avoid some supplements if you have an artificial heart valve; in rare cases, these bacteria can infect your heart muscle, and patients with artificial valves have an increased risk of this complication.
Now it’s your turn
Now, I would love to hear from you:
Which supplement from this post are you excited to try?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you enjoyed this article you should definitely check out some of my recent posts!
- [Ultimate Guide To] Optimizing Your Brain Health
- [7 Simple Ways To] Understanding the MTHFR Mutation
- [Top 7] Best Collagen Supplements of 2019
- Celery Juice Movement: [Why The Controversy]
- Beginners Guide To Biohacking Your Diet [With Intermittent Fasting]