As Hippocrates, the famous Greek physician said thousands of years ago “All disease begins in the gut”. This could be one of the most important sayings as it relates to how we breakdown our food, absorb the nutrients and excrete what we don’t need and ultimately this determines how we function on a daily basis. Developing and maintaining a healthy digestive system is therefore one of the keys to supporting your overall wellness.
Billions of friendly bacteria from more than 400 different species occur naturally in a healthy digestive system, with most living in the intestines, where they are sometimes called “intestinal flora”. These bacteria support general wellbeing in several ways, such as assisting digestion and helping to maintain immunity. At least 70% of your immunity lies in your gut so it’s especially important to look after your immune system during the cold and flu season.
Probiotics can be very sensitive to changes in their environment and some lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, eating highly processed foods, taking certain medications, stress and aging) can significantly reduce their numbers so ensuring you get a regular intake of them is very important.
How can we look after our “good bacteria” and digestion?
- Feed your intestinal flora
Keep your gut flora happy by feeding them foods they love. These foods are called prebiotics and are fibrous carbohydrates containing inulin and oligofructose that nourish good bacteria (probiotics) to help them multiply. They can be found in fruit such as apples, pineapple and berries or vegetables such as asparagus, artichokes, garlic, leeks and onions.
- Eat the right foods
Get a variety of fresh, wholefoods in your diet. Adapt your diet to include foods that make you feel good and exclude those that you know cause bloating and discomfort. Keeping a food diary can help you pinpoint any foods that might be causing you issues.
- Be regular
Eating more fibre, getting some exercise and increasing water intake can help maintain bowel regularity and prevent constipation.
- Eat Slowly
Chewing slowly enables the saliva to mix properly with the food and therefore allowing enzymes to start doing their job of breaking down carbohydrates. Slower eating also prevents us from gulping down unnecessary air causing bloating and wind later on. Chew each mouthful at least 20 times and learn to savour the taste of food while it lingers longer on the taste buds.
- Reduce stress
The “good bacteria” in your system, like us, do not do well with too little sleep and not enough relaxation.
So where can you get these good bacteria?
Use Probiotic Supplements – The word “probiotic” literally means “for life”; but the term usually refers to supplements that contain living, beneficial bacteria. Supplementing with a probiotic such as the Healtheries P3 or Healtheries Probiotica 50 Billion High Strength can help during times when levels of intestinal flora are low. The Probiotica 50 Billion contains a massive 50 billion CFU (colony forming units) from 11 strains of probiotic bacteria.
Eat Probiotic Rich Foods – Probiotics are naturally found in yogurt and other fermented foods such as sourdough bread, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha tea and may be a good addition to your daily diet.
Overall, be kind to yourself and help your bacteria thrive!