Gut Microbiome and Probiotics: Things That You Should Know
Your gastrointestinal tract is home to trillions of microbes, known as the gut microbiome. The gut microbiome plays a key role in digestion, metabolism, nutrition, and overall health. It is responsible for putting our body into working order. Your gut speaks to through its functions. From total silence to hunger grumbles, eating habits, and bathroom habits. Here’s what you need to know about your gut.
- Your gut needs a healthy dose of probiotics
Probiotics are live cultures of beneficial bacteria that supplement the gut microbiome. The health benefits of probiotics include:
- Promoting the balance of intestinal flora
- Shaping your body’s immune system function
- Aiding digestions
- Supporting a healthy reproductive system
- Prevention and treatment of obesity
- Supporting skin and gut-brain axis
- Producing antimicrobial substances
- Fermenting fiber in your diet to generate nutrients for your body
Fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and beverages like kombucha, and kefir have live cultures beneficial for your gut health and overall well-being. However, not all fermented foods necessarily qualify as probiotics. Probiotic foods and drinks should contain enough living bacteria that survive food processing to make it into the final food or beverage product. Commonly used probiotic strains include Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Saccharomyces boulardii.
- Your gut gets lonely without prebiotics
For probiotics to be effective, you need to consume prebiotics. Prebiotics like banana, garlic, onion, asparagus, and legumes, play a different role from probiotics, but they offer health benefits too. These dietary fibers serve as foods for probiotic bacteria. When probiotics consume prebiotics, some produce short-chain fatty acids like propionate, acetate, and butyrate. These short-chain fatty acids nourish the cells that line the gut, enhances calcium absorption, and relieving diarrhea and constipation.
- Processed foods attack your gut lining
Processed foods contain additives, preservatives, and unwanted chemicals that can affect the gut environment. These foods can also increase your risk of diseases. Processes foods can cause irritation and inflammation to your gastrointestinal tract lining. Your gut may not recognize what you’ve eaten and interprets processed foods as attackers. To prevent these problems, stick to whole, natural foods such as fruits and veggies, and unprocessed foods.
- Your gut is not fond of gluten
Gluten is a type of protein found in grains such as barley, rye, and wheat. For some people, gluten can cause digestive issues and gluten-related disorders. Gluten affects the gut microbiome by impairing the gut barrier. This allows bacteria and toxins to pass through the leaky gut and into the bloodstream, causing inflammation and diseases like celiac disease.
- Your gut acts like a second brain
Your nervous system and its sophisticated networks of over 100 million nerve endings line your GI tract. Your gut communicates with your brain. They “talk” to each other. Unlike your brain that can think, your gut controls digestions. From swallowing to breaking down of foods, absorption, and elimination.
Changes in your gut system signal the central nervous system. This explains the connections between GI illness and mental illness. For example, many people with IBS suffer from anxiety and depression as well.