Have a compromised immune system, suffering from autoimmune related problems, or coming off antibiotics that took a hit on your beneficial bacteria microbiome? Our beneficial bacteria do so much for us from aiding our digestion to assisting with our immune function to interacting with our nervous system to effect our moods and mental health. These bacteria have benefits everywhere! In order to help them do their job and keep us healthy, we need to support and nourish them to healthy levels.
Here are 3 top ways to replenish and support your gut biome to excellent health – for you and them!
#1 – Consume Probiotics
Probiotics is a term to describe foods and supplements that contain beneficial bacteria. Yogurt and kimchi are two well-known probiotic foods but there are plenty more. You can also find probiotic supplements in health stores and even at the supermarket. Doctors can prescribe them as well.
I’m not a doctor so I can’t recommend the proper course or dosage for you. In general, we all need to boost our beneficial bacteria levels. We live in a world awash with antibacterial soaps and where antibiotics are handed out like candy to both us and the livestock we eat. Additionally, the diets and lifestyles we eat will further decimate our gut biomes. The more impaired and compromised your system, the more action you probably need to take. Here’s why.
Most probiotic foods actually only contain half a dozen or a dozen strains of certain beneficial bacteria but a healthy gut biome contains hundreds if not thousands of separate species. Yogurt, kefir, and kombucha are great starts but the makers only add a handful of species. We all need more than these handful for a healthy gut biome. Additionally, most probiotic foods with added bacterial cultures contain such relatively small quantities that it is difficult for them to get a good purchase in your digestive tract without further support.
Probiotic supplements can increase the variety and dosage of beneficial bacteria but you really need to do your research when buying a supplement off the shelf – how effective is it, what does it contain and does it have side effects or interact negatively with any current medications you are taking or illnesses you may have? More and more companies are getting into the probiotic business so it pays to do your homework to see which are legit.
Possibly the best source for compromised immune systems is to have your doctor prescribe the right probiotics for you. These are generally stronger and more effective than anything you’ll buy off the shelf. But again do your homework as general practitioners are rarely familiar with the gut biome and probiotics, though this too is changing.
#2 – Eat This Bacteria Nourishing Diet
Outside of the antibiotics we take, what we eat plays a huge part in regulating and nourishing our gut biome. Diets that revolve around whole foods contain plenty of the fiber, minerals, vitamins and enzymes that beneficial bacteria love and need to eat in order to flourish and grow to healthy colony levels. If they’re not being fed, their colonies will suffer and die off or get crowded out by stronger but harmful bacteria. Eat leafy greens and beans, tubers like sweet potatoes and a diet rich in fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes and pulses, seeds, and whole grains. This was our ancestral diet and what we were all eating until the 1900s when highly processed and junk food diets came along.
Eat real food and your gut biome will thrive. So will your health. Check out my article You May Have Heard of Probiotics but What are Prebiotics and Why are They So Important for Our Health? for more on eating to nourish your gut biome.
#3 – Avoid These Harmful Foods & Drinks
So you’re taking probiotics and nourishing them with great food. Don’t wreck them and the process of healing and good health by eating and drinking the very things that will kill them off. Antibiotics are not the only culprits. You might be surprised to know that salt and sugar are their two other worst enemies.
Salt and sugar are both preservatives – you know, the stuff that kills off bacteria to keep foods from spoiling and help keep them on the shelf longer? That and their role as flavor enhancers, among others, is why salt and sugar are found in such high quantities in most packaged foods today, and especially in highly processed foods which the typical American diet depends on. When you eat this processed food, you’re dosing you’re beneficial bacteria with tons of sugar and salt. They can’t survive or thrive under this constant assault. When you’re downing sodas and double-fisting donuts, you are bombarding your gut biome with foods toxic to their survival – and ultimately your health.
Start steering clear of junk food, fast food, soda and other sugary beverages, and all the processed foods littering grocery store shelves and making Americans sick. Plenty of wonderful, beneficial bacteria nourishing foods and treats exist out there to keep you and your taste buds happy. It’s a wonderful culinary paradise so don’t think you’ll be in food hell by dropping what’s killing your for life nourishing food.
Be a Great Host
We live in a symbiotic relationship with our gut biome. We’ve developed over the millennia together as a species. Our modern unhealthy diets and the over-prescription of antibiotics is tearing that relationship apart to the detriment of our health. Take charge by consuming more probiotics, eating a diet that supports a healthy gut biome and avoiding the very foods and drinks that destroy or crowd out your beneficial bacteria. You’ll be doing them and yourself a favor – and greatly aiding your health.
Like this article? Please share it so that others can learn these health secrets and start living their best lives now.