There’s a lot of talk in the Zeitgeist about immunity these days, and since gut health is such a big part of that, it may be time for a short review! There are many aspects to gut health, but I’m going to focus on my top 3.
Probiotics. There can be no discussion of the gut without reference to the microbiome. Our gut bacteria affect everything from immunity to personality and everything in between. In the clinic, we talk about dysbiosis, which is an imbalance between the types of organisms present in the gut and which can contribute to a range of conditions of ill health. In short, it’s the ratio of good to bad gut bacteria. These imbalances can present in a number of ways, such as stomach upset, halitosis, nausea, constipation, heartburn and gas. A good general recommendation I usually share with my patients is to take a probiotic such as HMF Forte once a day before bed to help to build your microbiome. For a closer look at your gut, our Naturopaths here at Acubalance offer some detailed testing, specifically a test kit called the GI Map, which takes a close look at a small stool sample to tease out very precisely what’s going on in your gut environment. I had a patient recently who did this test to discover that she has dysbiosis, gluten contamination (even though she has Celiac disease and thus a very strict gluten-free diet) and an H. Pylori infection, all without any symptoms.
Prebiotics and Fibre. And speaking of gut bacteria, their preferred food source is none other than the humble oft-overlooked fibre. There are several benefits to a high fibre diet. Firstly, soluble fibre is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It functions to absorb water to bulk up the stools and help move them through your digestive system. Psyllium husk is another form of soluble fibre which can be taken as a supplement or used in recipes for bread or muffins. Insoluble fibre on the other hand is found mostly in fruits and vegetables. It helps the bowels to more comfortably pass stools. Both of these types of fibre act as prebiotics, feeding the gut bacteria.
Keep systemic inflammation low. There are a number of ways to do this, most notably through supplements and diet. Diet is one of the most simple interventions you can do on your own to have a very big impact on your health. Small choices made every day can make a profound difference now and in the future. When your parents told you how important it is to eat vegetables, they were right. When looking at your plate, fully half of it should be filled with vegetables. The other half should have one half carbohydrate such as brown rice, quinoa, or orange vegetables like squash or yams, and the other half a lean protein. Supplements are also an important step in improving your gut health by keeping inflammation low. My favourite ones are N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), Coenzyme Q-10, and Omega 3 fish oils. These supplements have been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
If you have any questions or want to talk about your individual health picture, call Acubalance and book a 15-minute phone consultation. I’m always available for a chat.