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HEALTHY BITES: The Importance Of A Healthy Gut

The importance of a healthy gut

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Maintaining a healthy balance of "good" gut bacteria in the digestive tract is critical to overall health and well-being.

Your body is full of trillions of bacteria, viruses and fungi. They are collectively known as the microbiome. Bacteria often is associated with disease, but certain types of bacteria are important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.

Weight management. The lack of healthy gut bacteria may lead to weight gain, but having a healthy balance of pre- and probiotics can potentially restore gut health and help reduce weight.

A healthy gut. A healthy gut microbiome controls gut health by communicating with the intestinal cells, digesting certain foods and preventing disease-causing bacteria from sticking to the intestinal walls. This reduces the risk of diseases like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Heart health. Certain bacteria within the gut microbiome can produce chemicals that may block arteries and lead to heart disease. Studies have found that the gut microbiome play an important role in promoting “good” HDL cholesterol and consuming probiotics may help lower cholesterol and the overall risk of heart disease.

Together, the bacteria functions as an extra organ in your body and play a huge role in your health. Surprisingly, the good gut bacteria altogether may weigh as much as two to five pounds, which is roughly the weight of your brain. In order to make sure you have a healthy balance of good bacteria, practice the following habits that have been proven to improve gut health.

Eat a variety of food. Eating a wide of healthy foods can lead to a diverse microbiome, which is an indicator of good gut health. Particularly, legumes, beans and fruit contain lots of fiber and can promote the growth of a healthy microbiome.

Eat fermented foods. Fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir all contain healthy bacteria, and can reduce the amount of disease-causing species in the gut.

Avoid artificial sweeteners. Some evidence has shown that artificial sweeteners like aspartame increase blood sugar by stimulating the growth of unhealthy bacteria in the gut microbiome.

Breastfeed. Breastfeeding is very important for the development of the gut microbiome. Children who are breastfed for at least six months have more beneficial bacteria compared to those who are bottle-fed.

Eat foods rich in polyphenols. Polyphenols are plant compounds found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, olive oil and whole grains. They are broken down by the microbiome to stimulate healthy bacterial growth.

Don’t forget your prebiotics too. Prebiotics are a type of fiber that stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria. Prebiotic-rich foods include artichokes, bananas, asparagus, oats and apples.

Take antibiotics only when necessary. Antibiotics kill many bad and good bacteria in the gut microbiome, possibly contributing to weight gain and antibiotic resistance. Thus, only take antibiotics when medically necessary.

The gut microbiome plays a very important role in your health by helping control digestion and benefiting your immune system and many other aspects of health. To help support the growth of healthy microbes in your gut, eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods.

Story Credit: http://www.mywebtimes.com/life/healthy-bites-the-importance-of-a-healthy-gut/article_8e4303fe-0af0-53bc-b125-ab1eace324a5.html