We all have a unique micro-biome i.e. a collection of gut bacteria which we acquire from the time of our birth and then from our environment.
This is a very delicate balance of good bacteria vs bad bacteria and this fine line can be easily affected especially by antibiotics, high sugar or low fibre diets
Bacteria appear to be very important to our wellbeing. Studies have shown that the gut flora can affect our metabolism. Researchers have demonstrated that slim people have more of the good bacteria compared to overweight individuals. The mechanism of this is still being investigated, but it seems that the gut bacteria effect the way the food is digested. It has been suggested that people with a poor gut micro-biome may eat the same amount as someone else with a healthy gut bacteria but may acquire more energy from it and therefore put weight on. This has been demonstrated in identical twins. One twin was overweight and the other normal weight, when the gut bacteria were analysed the normal weight twin had more of one gut bacteria compared to their twin.
Foods such as sugar, white flour and processed foods encourage growth of this bad weight inducing bacteria and thus upset the fine balance. The mechanism is thought to disrupt insulin levels which can effect the way way fat is laid down and also have an influence on the gut hormones of Leptin and Ghrelin which help to regulate appetite.
Dietary changes can improve your gut bacteria. Fibre, vegetables, whole grains and fruit help replenish the good bacteria over time.
Healthy fats such as coconut and avocado have also been shown to help cultivate a healthy gut bacteria. In addition, fish and nuts are beneficial as they are both rich in omega three.
Interestingly many cultures around the world have been aware of bacterial benefits and have often included fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt and kimchi into their diets. In order to benefit from these foods try to buy fresh non pasteurised versions since the process of pasteurisation kills off the good bacteria. I regularly make my own kimchi using a recipe from the internet.
A healthy gut helps to counteract the effects of stress since a large amount of our happy hormone serotonin is produced in the gut. Thus, your gut bacteria may also be affecting your mood!
Periodically we become aware of our gut intuition therefore the benefits of a healthy gut can not be overemphasised since it may also help with this sixth sense.
We have to be loving and caring to our subpopulations of bacteria and they will in turn nurture us back to optimal health by allowing efficient nutrient uptake.
Sending love and Blessings x