Did you know that most of our immune system lives in our gut? Apart from weight loss one of the main reasons I began my own personal health journey was because of the countless digestive and gut issues I was having. It seemed like nothing sat well with me and I was having an endless string of "IBS" issues. I had been to doctors, had tests done, had an endoscopy done and after I exhausted all of that and ruled out any larger health issues I decided to take a deeper look into my diet and the foods I was eating. This was and has been one of the biggest changes in my body.
I started keeping food journals, doing elimination diets and began getting to the root of what was really messing with my gut microbiome (essentially gut bacteria). As a lover of pizza (still love it) unfortunately dairy was at the root of most of my digestive issues which is why you will notice most of my recipes are dairy free. As much as I miss dairy, I do not miss feeling the way I did at all. I am quickly reminded sometimes when I sneak a piece of pizza or a few slices of cheese that for me it's simply not worth it.
Dairy aside - it was so great to finally discover what foods agreed with my system and what didn't. Through it all and still today one of the things that helps keep my gut in balance the most is probiotics. I take a probiotic supplement everyday and I definitely notice a difference if I don't take them for a few days. I highly recommend probiotics especially if you have poor digestion but it is also important to get to the root of the poor digestion in combination with taking probiotics. If you are having more severe stomach/digestion issues you should also seek the advice of a medical professional. Probiotics are not a quick fix for digestion. However, our bodies and gut lining tend to get stripped of a lot of the natural flora and bacteria that is good for us and probiotics help to restore that healthy flora.
Some things that Probiotics help with:
- Lactose & protein digestion
- Modulating inflammation
- Regulating metabolism
- Lipid regulation
- Oral health
- Nutrient utilization
- Balancing pH
Probiotics are also found in foods. If you would like to up the intake of your probiotics outside of taking a supplement here are some foods you can incorporate into your diet: yogurt/kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kimchi, raw pickles, ginger, olives, kombucha, sourdough and anything fermented. Fermented foods are great for our guts!
Things you can do to keep a healthy gut:
- Take probiotics (I take Acidophilus but there are many others out there - so do some research)
- Eat fermented foods (sauerkraut, pickled foods, kefir)
- Eliminate OR limit inflammatory foods (such as: dairy, gluten)
- Do an elimination diet to discover what is at the root of your poor digestion
The bacteria in your gut is very responsive to dietary changes so if you start to alter your diet your body and stomach will start to take notice. Believe it or not, the more diverse your gut bacteria, the better. It's important to experiment and see what works best for you individually. Two thirds of our gut microbiomes are uniquely ours without taking genes into account so everyones gut has different needs. I will be doing more posts on the microbiome since I have only scratched the surface - so check back for more soon!