Continuing our discussion on gut bacteria … In the last article, we discussed the emerging health conditions that have been linked to disrupted gut bacteria. Everything from auto immune disorders and allergies to mood issues and stubborn weight loss have been linked to disrupted gut bacteria. (If you haven’t read our gut bacteria intro article, please go back and read it for context … and consider purchasing The Microbiome Diet for a deeper education on the subject.
In order to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria, it is important to know how to “feed” the bacteria you are trying to grow. Probiotics are a great place to start, but quite often, they don’t have the right type of bacteria or are broken down by stomach acid and bile before they reach the location where they are most needed. DoTerra PB Assist+ probiotic is one of the best on the market, contains a double wall construction that allows it to remain intact longer in the digestive process as well as containing prebiotics. I have seen great changes in my clients when using this product not only for chronic gut issues, but for kickstarting stubborn weigh loss as well.
There are several elements in our environment that it is important to be aware of as well. If you are going to exert the effort to repopulate the gut, you also want to take steps to avoid exposure to substances that kill the good bacteria as well. Below is a short list. There are many more things to avoid, but these are the major ones. Since you can’t avoid everything, it is important to keep it simple and focus on the basics. Try to avoid the foods/chemicals below to begin your journey toward repopulating your gut.
- Sugar (feeds the bad bacteria)
- Refined grains (feed the bad bacteria)
- Antibiotics (cause a disruption in the ratio of bad/good bacteria. Avoid them whenever you can. Find an essential oils consultant who can guide you through the use of oils for natural antibiotics) When you must take antibiotics, be careful to include a probiotic when you are taking them as well as for a few weeks after you are finished. As a side note, be aware of how weight often becomes more difficult to control after a course of antibiotics.
- Chlorine and fluoride in drinking water also cause a disruption in gut bacteria. Always try to filter your drinking water for these contaminants.
- Processed foods (between the refined sugar and grains and chemicals used in processed foods, it is just a good guideline to stay away from them)
- Artificial sweeteners
Once you have gotten a handle on what to avoid, it is important to start repopulating your gut with the bacteria that it needs. Eating foods that are naturally rich in probiotics is the absolute best way to repopulate the gut. Remember from the last article that the gut can completely re-colonize in 24 hours which means that you can start seeing the health benefits of changing your bacteria within a few weeks of making simple changes about what you eat and are exposed to. The list below contains some great foods for repopulating your gut with the bacteria that it needs.
- Apple cider vinegar (Check out some of these great uses for it )
- Kombucha – a great fermented tea with lots of flavors and varieties. Available refrigerated in the salad section of most grocery stores. Here is my favorite brand. These drinks do have sugar, so 1/3-1/2 of bottle is all you need in a day to get the probiotic benefit.
- Kimchee – available at most grocery or health food stores. Just make sure to choose unpasteurized kimchee as the pasteurization process kills much of the bacteria
- Sauerkraut – found in most grocery stores. Again, unpasteurized.
- Yogurt….just be careful. Though Activia yogurt is marketed for its probiotic properties, ALL yogurt has probiotics. Much of Activia’s yogurt is “light” and has artificial sweetener which counteracts the benefits of the probiotics anyway. Make sure to reach for only plain organic Greek yogurt and add fresh or frozen berries to it (and maybe a little drizzle of local honey)
STEP(S) FOR THIS WEEK:
- Look through both the things to avoid and things to add when trying to rebalance your gut bacteria. Start with one serving of gut friendly foods and work up to a few tablespoons with each meal. Think outside the typical schema of always choosing yogurt. Your body needs variety.