It all starts in your gut.
Gut health is an important topic and is essential for your health because your gut health and immune system are inextricably linked.
To understand gut health, first, we must understand what the gut is. The gut includes all the organs involved in digestion, including the stomach and intestines, as well as 60-80% of the immune system. It is an important system to take care of, and to know how to identify issues when / if you are experiencing them.
The human gut is home to microorganisms known as bacteria. Bacteria has been given a bad name, but, the importance of GOOD bacteria is now being recognized. Good bacteria populate the gut and defend it from infection, help boost metabolism, and promote healthy digestion.
When bad bacteria outnumber the good within the gut the imbalance can cause complications in the body including:
- chronic fatigue
- nutritional deficiencies
- poor immune system functioning
- skin issues such as acne, rosacea, eczema and dry skin
4 Tips For Maintaining a
HAPPY, HEALTHY and BALANCED Gut
1. Reevaluate the foods you’re eating: Toxins - such as pesticides, herbicides, and BPA's have a negative impact on gut health. Glyphosate, a herbicide commonly used in GMO crops, has been proven to lead to the growth of harmful bacteria strains (1). This is problematic as this has the potential to interfere with immune function, affect mood and behaviour and increase the rate of infection (2).
Choosing organic, natural and good quality foods all contribute to healthy gut flora.
2. Marine Collagen Peptide: The amino acid - Glutamine - found in withinUs TruMarine™ Collagen helps repair the digestive tract by reducing inflammation, and protecting against systemic damage of the intestinal lining (leaky gut). Choose a superior quality, premium-select grade marine collagen (fish scales vs lower quality fish skin) that is non-GMO project verified, wild-caught and sustainably sourced. These peptides specifically has been used for those with IBS, Crohn's Disease and Colitis to help reduce irritation and flare-ups.
3. Fermented foods and probiotics: Tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are all fermented foods that encourage the growth of good bacteria strains - also known as probiotics. An important time to incorporate probiotics is after completing treatment of antibiotics, as they are used to kill bacteria (this includes the good bacteria).
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are important for gut health and a healthy digestive system. How to choose a good quality probiotic:
Strain: Probiotics are measured in CFUs (colony forming units). A good quality probiotic will have the number of CFUs displayed on the bottle. An optimal amount ranges from 3-5 billion with 3 billion being used as a daily maintenance and 5 billion used for those with troubled digestive systems.
Storage / Packaging: Many probiotic bacteria are sensitive to moisture and heat. Improper storage can cause the heat to kill the organisms and moisture can activate them, only to die off due to an improper environment. Probiotics that have been freeze-dried and packaged in either a tablet or capsule form can be stored without refrigeration, but should always be kept at room temperature.
Third Party Recognition:
When selecting supplements it is important to look for an NPN (Natural Product Number).
Before a natural health product can be sold in Canada it must be submitted to Health Canada for review. Health Canada is a strict regulatory body which ensures product safety and effectiveness. When a product successfully obtains an NPN it is issued a product license along with an eight-digit NPN (which legally must appear on the label). This number lets you know that the product has been reviewed and approved by Health Canada.
4. Stress management: When the body is stressed, it goes into 'fight or flight' mode. When this happens, blood flow is often drawn away from the digestive tract. This can result in poorly digested food, which can affect the strength and efficiency of the intestinal lining.
How do you ensure your gut is happy, healthy and balanced? Share in a comment below.