Are you or a loved one experiencing one or more of these negative health impacts?
Why are the above mentioned conditions so prevalent now?
Chronic health diseases can be linked to the combination of:
These factors disrupt the microbiota balance leading to dysbiosis and the loss of environmental diversity. The imbalance of microbiota can result in the overgrowth of yeast, parasites, fungi and other harmful strains of bacteria, which can lead to chronic diseases, such as the ones mentioned above.
But before we dive into details involving the microbiome and our health, let’s first discuss a few key aspects of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT).
The average GIT is 30 feet long with a surface area that covers the dimensions of a tennis court. Your GIT comes in contact with a large variety of environmental factors, from the food we eat to the air we breathe. It’s affected by everything from stress to hormonal cycles and environmental toxins.
Key things that we can do to stay healthy and prevent diseases are to keep the GIT working properly and efficiently.
Your gut is inhabited by trillions of bacteria. You have 10 times the number of bacteria in your gut as you do cells in your body. Wow, impressive!
Your microbiome “organ” weighs about 3-4 pounds in the average human. Science has found that balancing these tiny microbes within your body can greatly determine your body’s ability to fight disease, manage weight and regulate mood.
The concept dysbiosis was coined in the early 1900’s by Nobel Prize winning scientist Elie Metchnikoff who proclaimed that the fermented beverage consumed by Bulgarians, something we now call yogurt, was the elixir of life. Dr. Metchnikoff is also known as the “father of natural immunity” for his lengthy research in helping us better understand the body’s ability to naturally heal when given the right tools and environment.
Dysbiosis is a state of microbial imbalance where there is a change in the structural or functional composition of the microbiota resulting in a disruption in health and homeostasis.
It is through Dr. Elie Metchnikoff that has allowed us to understand the beneficial aspects of fermented foods, which can:
What are dysbiosis’ symptoms?
Symptoms of dysbiosis vary from one individual to another, however common signs include abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, constipation and/or diarrhea, excessive flatulence, decreased mental concentration, joint pain and unexplained fatigue, among others.
How to maintain proper balance?
Through the consumption of food and/or supplemental forms of prebiotics, probiotics and colonic foods we can improve your intestinal dysbiosis. Prebiotics are foods that feed the beneficial bugs in your gut. Colonic foods are similar to prebiotics except colonic foods lack the specificity in the kinds of bugs they feed. Below, we will discuss in more detail probiotic's role in gut health.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics are the health promoting bugs that help restore your digestive tract, priming your immune system and aiding the network of bugs in your system to work more efficiently. Understanding which probiotic strain is necessary for your individualized needs it critical to improving your gut health since not all strains perform the same health-promoting task.
Traditional probiotic food sources
There are diverse probiotics found naturally in several different foods. By getting a variety of bacteria from these foods can help in creating a diverse ecosystem in your digestive tract and positively improving your long-term health. Below is a list of common, traditional foods that contain a wide variety of gut beneficial bacteria:
Note: Tempeh and miso may also be consumed, though they are not always reliable sources of probiotics since the heating and processing that often occurs damages the health promoting bugs.
Consuming the appropriate probiotic strain is essential to providing a therapeutic effect in your body. Probiotics can be incorporated into supplements (powders, capsules, tablets, oils and wafers), as well as foods (milk drinks, medicinal yogurts, fruit juices, confectionery bars), which work as great carriers for the probiotic organisms.
Note: It is important to follow the advice of your healthcare professional or another reputable source recommended by a professional who is be able to identify the exact species and strain of probiotic to fit your condition or symptom.
Please be aware that the factors that have lead you to intestinal dysbiosis take time, often years, to develop. Thus, the proper healing process is expected to take time to slowly improve the imbalances.
When feeding your microbiome with fermented foods, make note that a little goes a long way. Starting slow with a low amount is important to boost digestion and provide a steady, daily dose of the health promoting bugs, such as consuming one to three forkfuls of sauerkraut each day.
As an individual, what you need might differ from the needs of another individual. Thus the type of medicinal supplemental strain or food required, the length of treatment and the necessary support has shown to vary. Lifestyle factors such as an individual’s current age, past health history, current health, exercise regimen and stress can all greatly affect the healing curve. The evolving process of expanding and growing is an integral part of the healing process.
Cheers to feeding your health-promoting guys!
PS - Wanting new recipe ideas? Follow me on Pinterest for some yummy and creative ideas.
Hello, my name is Stacy Peterson, Functional Nutritionist and Holistic Health, Wellness and Strength & Conditioning Coach with a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine practicing whole-foods nutrition and physical training to individuals around the globe.
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