How to balance gut bacteria and restore the ‘good’ guys

How to ensure that your gut bacteria has the right levels of ‘good’ bacteria.

How to manage a healthy gut

If you’re finding that your stomach is constantly in a mind of its own – alternating from bloating to diarrhoea, constipation to cramping – then, with the holidays just around the corner, it could be time to look a little deeper.

Referred to by many health experts as the body’s ‘second brain’, the gut is a hugely powerful organ, responsible for 70 per cent of the body’s immune and wellbeing system, well beyond our gastrointestinal tract. The gut has even been linked to mood disorders like migraines and anxiety, as well as skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

So how can we help to ensure our gut bacteria are in check and how do we restore our levels of ‘good’ bacteria?

Trusting your gut
Our intestines contain gut microbiota, or gut flora, a population of tens of trillions of micro-organisms, including hundreds of different species of bacteria.  These bacteria work together to support your immune system, ensuring your body absorbs nutrients effectively, and disposes of waste regularly.

It’s thought that when the amounts of good and bad bacteria become unbalanced, issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), immune, skin and other health problems, such as vaginal thrush, may occur.

How to redress the balance (and boost the ‘good’ gut bugs)
Probiotics have been shown to be one of the most valuable and natural solutions to the improvement of digestive health. They help to restore and replenish the good, natural bacteria in the digestive system and reduce the growth of harmful organisms (particularly important if you’ve come off a dose of antibiotics).

Supplementing with a high-quality daily probiotic may help to rebalance the bacteria in your gut, and help manage gastrointestinal issues like bloating, wind or gas. Choose a high quality, clinically-trialled probiotic that is suitable for daily use (unless you are trying to treat a specific condition, like eczema, IBS or vaginal thrush). Some probiotics even have a dual-action formula containing probiotic strains and prebiotics.

It’s also a good idea to assess your diet and fuel your body with probiotic sources too, like yoghurt, kimchi, kefir, miso and sauerkraut, as well as prebiotic foods including onions, leeks and garlic. 

Aside from probiotics, there are also a variety of lifestyle factors that contribute to the health of your gut. Take note of these tips to help keep the balance in check:

  • stay hydrated – with at least eight cups of water per day
  • exercise – just 30 minutes daily is all you need; a simply brisk walk can do the trick
  • include fibre-rich foods in your diet, ideally at every meal (vegetables like asparagus, leeks, onion as well as fruit are excellent choices)
  • cut back on inflammatory foods and stimulants including processed foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine
  • ensure a minimum of seven hours’ sleep each night.

While supplements may be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate, they can still interact negatively, or reduce the efficacy of some medications. You should always seek the advice of a qualified health professional before taking any supplements.

How do you manage your gut bacteria?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login
    The Other Judith
    9th Jan 2018
    11:09am
    Really! A link at the bottom of the page is https://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/are-probiotics-doing-you-more-harm The "high quality daily probiotics' link in this article goes to a Blackmores site. I like Balckmores products but couldn't this article be clearly labeled as an advertisement to help Your Life Choices' credibility? No wonder we are all so confused about health information because it is all just about the money. I have given up completely believing any health information and just pay attention to my gut instincts.
    MICK
    9th Jan 2018
    1:23pm
    Sounds a lot like an add. I was taken by the picture which could be either a heart of a uterus. Of course the usual feminist article complete with pic. Welcome to 2018. More already coming.
    Maggie
    9th Jan 2018
    1:58pm
    It's and ad for sure. We don't need expensive probiotics out of bottles. There are probiotics in cheese - ordinary cheddar and cottage cheese, pickles, saurkraut, yoghurt and buttermilk. If you want to be a bit more exotic try fermented soy products, or kimchi, kefir, kombucha etc.
    bindi
    14th Jan 2018
    3:47pm
    Hi Maggie, I do agree with you that using expensive Probiotics is not the only answer.
    Could you please let me know where is the best place to obtain the exotic drinks you have suggested i.e Kimchi , Kefir Muso Saurkraut.
    Thank you
    Maggie
    14th Jan 2018
    5:47pm
    Hi bindi

    Happy to help.

    Kimchi is a Korean pickle. I have not bought it here myself, but I am sure you will find a recipe for it online, and of course it may be available in the supermarkets.

    Kefir is a bit like yoghurt in that it is started with a culture and kept going by adding a bit to new milk or water whichever you prefer, whenever you need more. You can buy the cultures online - they are a bit different for water and milk - and just make as much as you need for each day. http://kefirshop.com.au/ It will come with clear instructions about what you need and how to make it. Or you can buy it ready made from Coles. It comes in a natural flavour or with mango etc. I have not tried the shop bought stuff but I am sure it will be pleasant. You might want to buy a bottle to try it out before you go for the online kit.

    Saurkraut is pickled cabbage. Unless you buy it from a health food shop I think it is better (and cheaper) to make this yourself really to be sure that it has had a good time fermenting - at least two weeks. Recipe site:

    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=sauerkraut+recipe&rlz=1C1CHZL_enAU722AU723&oq=saurk&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0l5.5308j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8. And there are lots of other recipes to be found Basically it's just cabbage but you can add other veggies to it to make it more interesting. It is important to keep everything covered with brine all the time and you will find that the suggestion for this is to use a weight.

    Miso is made from fermented soybeans. I have not tried to make this but you can buy the paste in Coles or Woolworths. Again there is lots of information on the internet.

    I hope this is helpful and you grow healthier every day!


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