We talk about gut health every week because it is central to your health and overall wellbeing. In fact, we value good gut health so much we have organised a workshop to show you the relationship between a healthy digestive system and your immune health.
Just to wet your appetite we have given a brief overview on the importance of a healthy gut balance here in this article.
The most important thing to understand is that there are millions of bacteria within our digestive system and these bacteria make up the majority of our immune function.
Good immunity is vital to good health. When our immune system is below par we are much more likely to catch colds and viruses. We also become more susceptible to other more serious diseases, more sensitive to stress and other pollutants in our environment. Many different factors affect our immunity but our digestive health is of primary importance to ensuring a strong immune system.
We often associate bacteria with illness; in reality, our gut has both good and bad bacteria. It needs both to function properly. Our problems occur when the balance is wrong and this is when we become susceptible to illness. This is the point at which our immune system can become comprised.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
The good bacteria are called probiotics and they help to combat infection and absorb nutrients. These bacteria, of which there are many different varieties, perform a multitude of actions within the body.
People often get confused between probiotics and prebiotics. Prebiotics feed the probiotics giving them the energy to do their job. The synergistic relationship between probiotics and prebiotics is the reason that many of the best supplements will have both within their formula.
The understanding of probiotics and their use within the gut is ever increasing and there is a substantial amount of evidence to support the beneficial actions of probiotics within the gut.
The benefits of a healthy digestive system include:
- We digest our food better which means we are well nourished
- It is easier to maintain a healthy weight
- Our skin looks good
- We are not susceptible to every cold or virus because our immune system is working well
How do you get a healthy gut?
- Have a healthy diet
- Live a healthy lifestyle
You may well read our words and think that’s great in theory BUT…
I have to take medications regularly.
I have just had an infection and I needed antibiotics
I get candida
I have IBS
I got ill while I was travelling
I am so stressed because I
- am in a job I hate
- don’t like where I live
- have family or relationship problems
- have a number of health issues
- am worried about something
So often our response to stress is to eat the wrong stuff even though we know we shouldn’t but when we are eating we forget what is bothering us. That bar of chocolate or cake gets us through the day. However this only exacerbates our problems because all the sugar just feeds the bad bacteria leaving it fuelled to cause more disruption.
Any of these scenarios would be improved considerably if you could balance your gut bacteria.
How do I increase the probiotics in my system?
In theory, the easiest way is to take a supplement. There are many different probiotic supplements. Alternatively, you add probiotic foods to your diet. We will cover supplements first.
How do you find the best probiotic supplement for you?
a. Choose a recognised brand
b. Look at the number of strains in the formula
c. Does it address your issue?
i. for example there are probiotics specifically for candida,
ii. probiotics for urinary tract infections
iii. general use probiotics
iv. probiotics specific to age. A young child will need different probiotics to an adult
v. This is not an exclusive list but you get the idea there are many different probiotic supplements
d. Does the product have live strains?
e. How do you store the product? Remember a product needing refrigeration may not work if you are travelling
f. This is why I said ‘in theory’ supplements were the easy option but as you can see there are many factors to be considered. Another reason to attend our workshop!
Beneficial foods can easily be incorporated into your daily regime to support your digestion and encourage growth of probiotics. Consider the following:
a. Eat organic fruit and vegetables
b. Include fermented foods in your diet
c. Apple cider vinegar should be a daily staple
d. Kefir is a great way to support your system
e. Chia and flaxseeds are good soluble fibres that encourage probiotic growth
We hope you are beginning to appreciate that importance of the relationship between our digestive and our overall health.
We will continue to talk about digestive health and update you as new ideas and products emerge. You will hopefully, appreciate now that it is an enormous subject and new research will continue to develop our understanding of this important subject.
If this has been of interest to you please book a place at the workshop by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org