How Gut Bacteria Affect Your Health.
I think we're all aware these days that the bacteria in our guts play an important role in digestion by helping to ensure we get the nutrients we need from our food.
In addition, they're used by your system to help with the production of B vitamins and vitamin K. They also play a major role in your immune function.
This has led researchers to start focussing on how these colonies of bacteria impact our health.
Their research suggests that healthy people have different gut bacteria to people with certain diseases. However, because your microbiome is unique to you, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which bacteria could be responsible for your problems.
Whilst they can't yet be specific, they have concluded that people who are ill have an imbalance in their bacteria and probably lack a particular strain.
However, scientists have been able to show that there are definite links between the following illnesses and the bacteria that live in your gut:
Heart disease, Obesity and Type 2 diabetes
Your body's metabolism is directly affected by your gut bacteria.
It's your gut bacteria that determine how your food is digested and how many calories and nutrients you get from it.
Having the correct balance of gut bacteria - for you - can prevent a condition called Metabolic Syndrome. This is, actually, several conditions such as:
=High blood sugar
=Incresed blood pressure
=High cholesterol levels
=High triglyceride levels
=Excess fat around the waist
Which all (especially when they occur together) increase your risk of Heart disease, Obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Research shows that there is a direct link between levels of anti-inflammatory bacteria in your gut and conditions such as IBD, Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.
Quite why this is the case has yet to be discovered, but it is thought that an imbalance of bacteria encourages your body to attack your intestines, causing inflammation.
It has been found that your gut bacteria produce neurochemicals that your brain uses to regulate mental and physiological processes. These processes include learning ability, mood regulation (particularly depression) and memory.
Additionally, 95% of your serotonin is produced by gut bacteria.
Serotonin is known as the "Happy Chemical" as it contributes to happiness and well-being as well as being instrumental in regulating sleep patterns.
Now you're aware that your gut bacteria can have a direct effect on both your physical and mental health, there are things that you can do to help maintain a healthy gut.
Making sure you have a healthy diet can encourage the growth of good bacteria.
Simply by including fermented foods - such as miso and sauerkraut - will increase the levels of your "good" gut bacteria.
Eating fibre rich fruit and vegetables regularly will improve the overall health of your gut bacteria.
Eating probiotic-rich foods - such as live yoghurt, pickles, cider vinegar (with the mother) and kimchi - with help to increase the levels of good bacteria in your gut.
Taking daily probiotic supplements can often be the best and simplest way to accomplish good gut health.