Gut health may not be top of mind right now with all the concerns over coronavirus, however considering that 70% of our immune system is located in our gut, we should all be looking at strategies to promote a healthy belly.
Our digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria. The friendly bacteria, known as probiotic bacteria, make up your microbiome and these bacteria play a vital role in supporting good health. Probiotic bacteria aid the digestion and the absorption of nutrients from the intestine, they help ease gas and bloating and can alleviate both constipation and diarrhea. And new research suggests they also offer benefits for the heart, brain, gums, skin and even our mood.
When it comes to the immune system probiotics work in several ways. They enhance the innate immune system and modulate inflammation. They promote a healthy gut barrier, which blocks harmful bacteria from adhering to the digestive tract and they also stimulate protective immune responses from the gut.
If the gut flora contains too many harmful bacteria and not enough friendly bacteria, an imbalance can occur known as dysbiosis. Signs of dysbiosis include gas, bloating, upset stomach and constipation or diarrhea. Many factors can contribute to dysbiosis such as taking antibiotics or antacids, smoking, drinking alcohol, eating high amounts of sugar and even stress.
To optimize gut health and your immune system consider adopting strategies that support the diversity and balance of your microbiome.
1. EAT a diverse range of whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and cold-water fish. Include more prebiotic and probiotic foods in your diet. Probiotic foods such as yogurt, kefir, kimchi, miso and tempeh contain some beneficial bacteria and are easy to incorporate into the diet. Prebiotic foods contain fibers and nutrients, which can help to feed and nourish the probiotics in your gut. Examples include apples, bananas, asparagus, barley, legumes, oats and garlic. To get a reliable source of probiotics, consider a quality supplement, such as Kyo-Dophilus Probiotics. This particular probiotic contains strains of bacteria known as The Friendly Trio, which have been shown in research to offer benefits for gut health and immune support. Kyo-Dophilus is available in various formulas and is stable at room temperature so it doesn’t require refrigeration.
2. Move your body. Regular physical activity not only makes you feel good, but it also benefits your gut. Research suggests that moderate exercise can enhance the number of beneficial microbes, thereby improving gut health. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity a day; since it’s moderate you can also do a wide variety of exercises in the comfort and safety of your own home.
3. Chill-out. Stress is bad for many aspects of health including our gut. It can increase sensitivity, reduce blood flow and alter gut bacteria in a negative way. Lack of sleep, which often goes along with stress, can worsen the problem. Just two days of sleep deprivation can cause subtle changes to the gut flora and increase the number of bacteria associated with weight gain, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and fat metabolism. Try to take time each day to chill. Listen to soothing music, practice deep breathing and yoga and reduce screen time before bed. Strive for at least 7 hours of sleep each night.
Incorporating these healthy belly habits will go a long way toward supporting your immune system and overall health. For more tips on how probiotics can help or to ask me a gut related question, visit: www.probiotics.com.