The human gut contains 10 times more bacteria than all of the human cells in the body. In fact, every one of us is more bug than human cells. More bug than human.
Our gut is home to approximately 100,000,000,000,000 (100 trillion) microorganisms. This number is so huge that there is barely aything else we know if to make this relative and understandable.
If you laid out 1 trillion bananas end to end it would stretch from the earth to the sun and leave many kilometres to spare. If you did that 100 times you may begin to understand how vast the number of 100 trillion is.
It has only been in the most recent five years that importance of the role of gut health in our overall health and wellbeing. What we know for sure is that a healthy gut flora promotes a beneficial gastrointestinal function, gives us protection from infection and disease helps to regulate our metabolism and comprises more than 75% of out immune system.
Adversely, compromised gut flora is closely correlated with illness and disease from depression and chronic fatigue syndrome to autoimmune disease such as arthritis, Hashimoto’s, crohns, graves, type 1 diabetes and inflamamtory bowel disease.
Gut health and weight loss
To maintain healthy normal weight and a thriving metabolism it is essential that we have healthy gut bacteria. Unfortunately in today’s society we have a number of factors which promote unhealthy bacteria and therefore a sluggish, damaged and compromised metabolic process. This makes it much more difficult to lose weight easily and/or keep it off.
How many of these factors can you relate to having in your life?
- Antibiotics and other medications like birth control and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
- Diets high in refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods (including gluten)
- Diets low in fermentable fibres (fibre gained/ingested from processed wheats and packaged foods instead of fruits and vegetables)
- Dietary toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils that cause leaky gut (includes vegetable and seed oils)
- Chronic stress
- Chronic infections
While these factors all contribute to a compromised gut health and obesity, they are without a doubt other factors to be considered when it comes to obesity. These include emotional wellbeing and addictions to some chemicals in packaged foods, lack of movement and overall levels of fulfillment and happiness.
How to support healthy gut flora
The first thing would be to avoid the list of factors I have listed above. At times this is not always possible, however it is a start.
There is no ‘bad’ time to support healthy gut flora. Integrate any of the below advice into your diet and lifestyle and you will be doing well for your gut health, metabolic process and overall wellbeing.
- Remove all chemical foods from your diet (artificial sweeteners, preservatives, artificial flavours, MSG etc) – the easiest way to do this is to eat real food.
- Eat plenty of fermentable fibers (starches like sweet potato, yam, yucca, etc.)
- Take a high-quality probiotic (refrigerated is best)
- Include functional medicinal foods (lacto-fermented vegetables, kombucha, kefir)
- Heal and seal your gut with functional foods such as bone broth.
- Take steps to manage your stress such as a mindfulness practice, meditation, yoga, or simply walking each day
Love your guts!