Did you know there are multitudes of ways your gut bacteria influences your overall health? I bet you’d be surprised to know just how important those little bugs inside your stomach are to your overall brain and body health. Many of you might be surprised just how much they affect, in a good and bad way, according to the levels of good and bad bacteria you have. Considering our gut bacteria plays a major part in our immune system, it’s essential to take care of it as much as possible. To do that, you need to be sure to take a high quality probiotic daily, as well as eat foods that optimize gut bacteria. Along with those measures, be sure you’re aware of all these ways your gut bacteria influences your health so you can make the best choices for your tummy each and every day!
Let’s start with one of the most basic ways your gut bacteria influences your health. First, your immunity is of utmost importance when it comes your gut bacteria. Over 80% of your immune system is actually located in your gut, and the tiniest little thing can upset that beautiful balance in there we’re all looking to achieve. When levels of unhealthy bacteria take over in the gut, guess what happens? Your immune system takes a big plunge. You’ll see this happen when you take antibiotics usually. Even though you’re sick and antibiotics help get rid of the virus, guess what else they do? They also kill all your good gut bacteria that protects you from further infections, along with yeast overgrowth. This is why many women who take antibiotics get a yeast infection. It can cause constipation due to depletion of gut bacteria as well. However, if you simply supplement with probiotics year round and consume a healthy diet, good bacteria takes over in your gut, and you can actually prevent colds and other viruses from coming on in the first place. This is all due to your immune system being in tip-top shape!
2. Yeast Balance
Another issue to be aware of when it comes to gut bacteria is yeast. We all have levels of yeast in our digestive system. Some of these are for our good, and others, not so much. When unhealthy yeasts take over our body, such as the popular form known as candida albicans, then they can cause overgrowth and rapidly damage our entire bodies. This usually comes in the form of weight gain, brain fog, sugar cravings, food addictions, joint pain, poor digestion, and leaky gut, among others. When you have enough healthy bacteria in your gut, candida and other harmful yeasts can’t thrive. They take over anytime you live with high stress consistently, eat a large amount of sugar and carbohydrates, and consume yeast in the form of breads, alcohol, or molded foods like cheese. Eating fresh foods, clean sources of protein, avoiding alcohol, eliminating breads and other high carbohydrate, yeasty foods, and eating plenty of fresh greens is a good diet protocol for gut health. It’s also good to consume plain, unsweetened yogurt since it is rich in probiotics, eliminate sugar and alcohol, and take a good probiotic to ensure yeast overgrowth does not happen.
Your digestion is also directly affected by your gut health. When your healthy levels of gut bacteria are reduced, your digestion is greatly compromised. You’ll often suffer from issues such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain after eating, irregularity, IBS, and gas, just to name some of the most common issues. Healthy levels of gut bacteria are needed for everything from nutrient absorption to healthy bowel movements. Taking care of your gut bacteria is essentially the best way to ensure your digestive system works just like it wants to.
Surprisingly, even your mood can be a sign, as well as a result, of the levels of good bacteria in your gut. People with depression have actually been found to have drastically low levels of good bacteria in their guts. To make matters worse, healthy bacteria is diminished by anti-depressants, which creates a vicious cycle for constantly depleting bacteria further. People with low levels of good bacteria will often be moody, depressed, unmotivated, and even suffer hormonal swings not associated with aging-associated issues, such as menopause or puberty.
5. Itchy Scalp
Yeast overgrowth causes dandruff and an itchy scalp. Whether it occurs on your scalp or not, it can still be a sign of yeast overgrowth in the entire body. Guess what causes that? You got it! Low levels of healthy gut bacteria can spur yeast overgrowth all over the entire body, including on your scalp. People with low levels of good bacteria usually suffer from dry skin or eczema as well.
Your weight can also be easily affected by your gut bacteria levels. Many people who are overweight, or extremely underweight, all have low levels of good gut bacteria. If you’re suffering extreme food cravings, up and down hormonal swings that disrupt healthy eating practices, or you eat a highly processed, high sugar diet, your healthy gut bacteria takes a hit quickly. To optimize weight loss, eat a clean diet and take a probiotic. Fermented foods have also been linked to lower weight. These foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, cultured veggies, unsweetened yogurt and kefir, raw cacao, miso, kombucha, raw apple cider vinegar, and tempeh. These foods won’t directly help you lose weight, but will alter your gut bacteria to a positive state, helping reduce food cravings and enhance hormonal function that can lead to weight gain. Just be sure to eat a clean diet the rest of the way as well.
Your skin is also a huge sign of your gut bacteria health. If you suffer acne, rosacea, eczema or other skin eruptions, then your gut bacteria is usually to blame. Healthy levels of gut bacteria will show up on your face. I noticed when I got my gut bacteria to a healthy state through a clean diet and probiotics that my acne disappeared all within a week, and my skin practically glowed. Getting rid of sugar is the first step to not only reducing your acne, but also optimizing your gut health.
Almost anyone who’s ever had a problem with gut bacteria will tell you nothing is more miserable than the symptoms you’ll suffer as a result. While probiotics are essential, so is a clean, low sugar diet, free from preservatives, additives, and refined foods. A lower carbohydrate diet has been directly linked to optimizing gut health as well since unhealthy levels of gut bacteria feed on high carbohydrate sources of food as the “fuel.” To learn more about gut bacteria, visit my favorite website, Body Ecology, which you can learn more about at bodyecology.com. Have you ever had problems due to an imbalance in good and bad gut bacteria levels?