Why is a happy gut so important?

I've always been fascinated by the link between digestion & general health, including skin health. And research into the gut microbiome has exploded in the last couple of decades. Once considered just to be involved in the workings of the gastrointestinal system, we now know that the gut bacteria can influence pretty much every aspect of health, from bowel function, immune system health, infection risk, skin health, allergy and healthy ageing to blood sugar balance, mental health, brain function and much more. And it is likely that we still only know a fraction of what the gut microbiome is capable of.

The 100 trillion or so bacteria that live in your gut, commonly referred to as the ‘gut microbiome’, are now considered almost to be an organ in their own right and perhaps as important to your health and happiness as your genes. Needless to say, we need to look after them!

What we do know for sure however is that it is absolutely vital to protect, nurture and preserve this delicate internal ecosystem. Your health depends on it!

I've adapted an article from the Nutri-Advanced website to create this blog, they provide such amazing, balanced information when it comes to the effect of vitamins and minerals on our body. And I'm always reassured that they provide research for health professionals, so we can trust their info!

What does the gut microbiome do?

✓ Helps the body to absorb nutrients ✓ Fights infections ✓ Supports lactose digestion ✓ Makes some essential vitamins ✓ Supports regular bowel movements ✓ Creates enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria ✓ Crowds out harmful organisms ✓ Protects your health ✓ Helps your body to function properly ✓ Protects against toxins ✓ Regulates the health effects of diet and lifestyle choices

What is ‘gut dysbiosis’?

There are thousands of different types of bacteria in your gut, and a delicate balance exists between health-promoting and harmful bacteria. A healthy gut contains a balance in the region of 85% good / 15% bad bacteria. When this balance shifts more in favour of unhealthy organisms, a condition known as ‘gut dysbiosis’ occurs.

Did you know?

• 70 – 80% of your immune system is found in your gut • The gut is responsible for producing 95% of serotonin, the body’s happy neurotransmitter • The gut microbiome was the headline topic at the world’s largest international neuroscience conference in 2017 • Friendly bacteria are very sensitive and are affected by stress and noise! • ‘Sour foods’ such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut) and apple cider vinegar contain powerful acidic substances that feed friendly bacteria

Things that nurture a healthy gut microbiome

✓ Wide variety of fruits and vegetables (aim for 30 different types/week) ✓ High fibre diet (chia seeds, flax seeds) ✓ Sweet potato ✓ Apple cider vinegar ✓ Fermented foods (live yoghurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso and kimchi) ✓ Natural, unrefined wholefoods ✓ Relaxation ✓ Peace and calm ✓ Exercise ✓ Restorative sleep ✓ Natural cleaning and personal hygiene products ✓ Probiotic supplementation with specific researched strains

We've recently made some 'Kimchi' as part of our crusade on 'gut health'. We love it with stir fry, salads and on the side of meals. It's not complex to make, but it does take time to develop (approx 3-4 weeks). We picked up the jar and recipe from Lakeland... It's potent stuff and I can't wait to see if it has any noticeable effects.

Things that harm the gut microbiome

✗ Antibiotics ✗ Medications ✗ Typical Western diet high in sugar, saturated fat and processed foods ✗ Low fibre ✗ Gluten ✗ Foreign travel ✗ GMO foods ✗ Alcohol and smoking ✗ Lack of exercise ✗ Poor sleep ✗ Noise ✗ Emotional stress ✗ Overly sanitised food and environment ✗ Environmental toxins

We would always advocate a healthy diet first, but I think its hard to get a perfectly balanced gut from diet alone. Each day Amelia, Jess and I take a probiotic. We love ProbotiX Daily 5 Live, by Nutri-Advanced (£15.95 for a months supply and stocked at The Bothy). They guarantee 5 billion live bacteria per capsule, at the end of expiry. Which is pretty impressive and you won't find stronger on the market! Why not give them a try for a month and see what you think?

Always try to take them on a morning, with a big glass of water, on an empty stomach and give them 30mins to move through you before you eat. I tend to take mind as soon as I wake up.

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