Probiotics and Foods for Gut Health
There are more microbes and bacteria lining your colon and small intestine and covering your skin than there are cells in your body. Trillions live n the large intestine especially and they play a vital role in your health. Your microbiome, with more neurons that a cats’ brain, to be, effectively, another organ because of its function in the body. Without a healthy microbiome, your overall physical and mental health will suffer.
Your microbiome is unique to you, containing a combination of bacteria and other types of microbes that creates a mini ecosystem in the colon, or large intestine. Depending on where you live and what you eat, your dominant bacteria will be similar to those around you who live and eat similarly, but the exact combination of microbe types your gut fosters will be unique to you.
Why is the Microbiome So Important?
When your gut flora are out of balance, negative consequences are put into motion; over time, this leads to chronic diseases caused by inflammation and autoimmune disorders. Your microbiome makes up 75% of your immune system.
The Influence of the Western Diet on the Microbiome
As you might have guessed, the Western diet—high in sugar, low in fiber—is the perfect recipe for an unhealthy gut. Without adequate food (fiber), the gut flora become imbalanced. Some bacteria and yeast flourish at the expense of others, and these microbes feed on the many types of sugar we ingest in processed, refined, and junk foods. Over time, this imbalance leads to the breakdown of the intestinal mucosal cells, the tiny little fingers, or villi, that absorb nutrients and protect the gut lining. As these cells break down, the mucus lining of the gut dries and washes away, exposing the gut lining. Then the gut lining develops cracks, which allow tiny particles of undigested food to slip from the intestines into the bloodstream. This is called gut permeability, or leaky gut syndrome.
When particles of food enter the bloodstream, the body’s immune response is triggered as it attempts to deal with these unfamiliar food invaders.
The Western diet, then, keeps the body in a constant state of immune emergency, which leads to widespread inflammation inside the body. This constant state of emergency and inflammation leads to hundreds of chronic diseases, such as:
Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria and yeast that make up your microbiome. Think of them as the happy, energetic workers of your gut.
Probiotics line both the small intestine and the colon (large intestine), but they are concentrated in the colon. After partially digested food moves from the stomach into the small intestine, nutrients are removed and absorbed into the blood stream. By the time the food has moved into the colon, all that remains is water and the indigestible fiber from your food. They also manufacture vitamins and interact with your hormones, immune system, and cells. The particular balance of gut flora you have also determines how aggressively calories are extracted from the food you eat (an imbalance actually causes your body to absorb more calories, thus contributing to overweight and obesity!).
Foods that contain probiotics will help restore and rebuild a healthy microbiome. They include:
Has had Hashimoto's for 13 years. I am passionate, I live and breathe, helping you to overcome your struggles with weight, stress, and chronic health issues.