Our gut is home for over 100 trillion bacteria; this grouping of living organisms is called the gut microbtiota or microbiome. It has been known for quite some time that the microbiome directly affects the health of our gastrointestinal system and digestion by metabolizing nutrients ingested in the form of food or supplement. It also forms a protective layer in the intestine to prevent infection and foreign molecules from entering the bloodstream. However recently there have been many studies showing that there are many more far reaching effects our microbiome has on serious health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease and even cancer!
With over 5,000 different strains of bacteria found in our guts, everyone's gut microbial makeup is unique! It is imperative to try to feed good bacteria so that they can gain control of gut territory and outnumber the bad bacteria, for optimal health. There are several factors that affect the ratio of good to bad bacteria such as age, genetics, diet, environment, supplements and medications as well as other factors.
With the gut microbiota being such a complex network of organisms, it is very difficult to pinpoint which bacteria should be in a certain ratio to others, but here are some general recommendations that can help good bacteria prosper and overcome overgrowth of bad bacteria or fungus so we can have a balanced ecosystem.
1. Consume a healthy amount of fermented foods
- Kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso, tempeh, probiotic yogurt
2. Start taking a Probiotic supplement
3. Limit use of Antibiotic medications
- Sometimes antibiotics are necessary, let's not forget that they also kill good bacteria in addition to killing the bad bacterial infection. Limit the use of these medications only when absolutely necessary. If you do a round of antibiotics, follow that up with high consumption of fermented foods and a good probiotic supplement to get things back up to speed!
We hope these pointers helped! If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to ask below!