It’s well known that symptoms like indigestion, acid reflux, gas, bloating, constipation and diarrhea are all associated with digestive malfunction. What is less known is that fatigue, skin disorders, hormone imbalances, auto-immune disease, diabetes, candida, and inflammation, etc. are also signs of unhealthy digestion.
In order to keep the body running efficiently, the gut is responsible for keeping helpful compounds and ridding itself of harmful ones. In addition to containing 70-80% of our immune cells, the gut contains 100 trillion bacteria (flora). These bacteria can be divided into “good” and “bad” or “friendly” and “unfriendly” and can have a positive or negative effect on the body.
We need both types of bacteria, in the correct amounts, for our bodies to function as it is meant to. Friendly bacteria aid in breaking down the foods we eat so that the healthy nutrients can get into the blood stream, benefitting the whole body. It’s the overgrowth of the less beneficial bacteria that causes digestive issues and inflammation.
One common thing that causes the destruction of healthy bacteria is antibiotics. It not only destroys the harmful bacteria causing illness, but also kills the healthy, beneficial gut flora. Increasing good gut bacteria following a round of antibiotics is especially important. The less beneficial bacteria will also proliferate with a diet high in sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods.
Increasing the amount of probiotics in the diet, through fermented foods and/or supplements, is a great way to boost the number of “friendly” bacteria in the gut. A “happy” gut leads to improved health and vitality.