How to improve gut flora: Do's and don'ts
Strong immune system function depends on gut flora, besides bone marrow activity and the lymphatic system.
Beneficial microorganisms in the intestines fight bad bacterias, affect
the production of cytokines, antibodies and white blood cells such as T
cells and NK cells, while helping remove pathogens and cell debris
through the intestines.
Besides being useful in treating intestinal related diseases, assimilating nutrients from the food and boosting immune system, they can also decrease the risk of inflammation, gum disease, heart disease as well as lower cholesterol and blood pressure, slightly.
Probiotics are good bacterias which are consumed through foods and supplements. Probiotics are meant to improve gut flora, by replenishing benefical bacterias in the intestines.
When it comes to food, yogurt, fermented fruits and vegetables are natural source of good microorganisms. However, most yogurts which you can buy in store, are weak source of probiotics.
They are made from pasteurized milk which is weak source of friendly bacterias, while the ones that are produced or added during the manufacturing process, usually don't live long enough to make it to your table, partially due to additives in yogurt.
On the other hand, you can make your own probiotics, by fermenting fruits, vegetables as well as fresh organic milk, if you can get your hands on one.
Prebiotics are basically fiber. Fiber is food for good bacterias which fuels their growth and reproduction. By eating plenty of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables, you support the growth of friendly bacterias which leads to better intestinal flora and lowers the amount of bad bacterias in the gut.
The most well known prebiotics are inulin, galactooligosaccharides and fructooligosaccharides or FOS, while the best food sources of prebiotics are Chicory, Artichoke, Dandelion, Burdock, Barley, Oats, Garlic, Onion, Bananas, Apples, Kiwis, Beans, Leeks and Asparagus.
Sugar is food for bad bacterias. By stimulating their growth, you are negatively affecting gut flora and the good bacterias thereby making double damage with just one punch.
To avoid this, stay away from candies, cookies, even fruit juices, table sugar, sodas, energy drinks and basicly all the processed foods high in sugar.
Pharmaceutical antibiotics act by attacking all the bacterias, good and bad thereby upsetting the natural balance of your intestinal flora and decreasing the number of good bacterias.
Because of this, you should take these antibiotics only if you really need them. After you stop taking them and the infection is cleared up, you may want to take some probiotics and consume prebiotics to help the good bacterias bounce back.
Also, for milder conditions, you may want to learn more about natural antibiotics, before deciding to take medications.
Intestinal flora and good bacterias seem to have an effect on the brain function as well as vice versa, through the gut-mind connection. By improving gut flora, you may decrease the risk of anxiety, dementia, depression and improve your response to stress as well as brain function.
On the other hand, positive thinking may improve intestinal flora, by affecting the chemicals which are produced by friendly bacterias such as serotonin. Also, don't neglect your appendix which seems to be a reservoir of good bacterias and not some rudimentary organ.
For optimal results, mix probiotics with prebiotics. I personally, take ORAC-Energy Greens for my gut flora which contains both of them as well as many more heart healthy foods and herbs.
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