Vital Importance of Cultivating Balanced Gut Flora
You may have heard about the “good” bacteria that live in humans’ intestines, and may have seen foods or supplements noting the living bacteria contained within. This so-called “good” bacteria is part of a large, complex ecosystem contained within the intestinal tract whose intricacies are the subject of much research and analysis. Beyond bacteria, there are viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that make up the microflora that research is showing affects many health systems.
While digestion is obviously influenced by the gut microflora, everything from skin, metabolism and weight, mental health, heart health, and brain chemistry are all affected. As study after study are conducted, the impact of creating and sustaining a diverse and vibrant ecosystem in the gut is shown to have major health benefits across the board.
One of the primary ways to nurture and maintain a balanced ecosystem is to consume naturally fermented foods at least several times per week. If that is not possible, Dr. Mercola recommends supplementing with a high-quality probiotic. It’s important to remember that some things will destroy colonies of healthy flora, such as taking antibiotics or eating processed foods. The sugars in processed foods not only destroys healthy flora, but also contributes to an overgrowth of other microorganisms that prevent the healthy colonies from becoming and remaining established.
One particularly exciting area of research includes the ways that microbes prevent or promote cancers. One way that this has been shown is the modulation of the immune system and the promotion or cessation of inflammation. Other areas of study focus on obesity, the mind and mental health, respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies, the elimination of toxins, and many more.
“Optimizing your gut flora is one of the most powerful nutritional interventions you can implement to stay healthy.” While eating fermented foods and potentially taking a probiotic supplement as well are key factors, it’s also important to recognize what will disrupt a balanced and healthy gut ecosystem. Key things to avoid include: fluoridated or chlorinated water, antibiotics unless necessary (and remembering to re-seed the gut with healthy bacteria after the antibiotic regimen is completed), antibacterial soap, conventionally raised animal products which contain high levels of antibiotics, processed foods, and agricultural chemicals found in some conventionally raised produce.
The doctors and staff at Midway Chiropractic are continually dedicated to assisting you with finding and maintaining a healthy body system. Please ask your doctor on your next visit if you have questions or would like suggestions to support and promote balanced and health gut microflora.