Did you know that the bacteria in your gut play a major role in your overall health? It may seem like a relatively trivial aspect of your health, but it has the potential to influence your mood, your physical health, and so much more. You should really know what role your intestinal flora plays in your health and how you can help to support the hard work they do on a daily basis.
What is your intestinal flora?
The intestinal flora consists of the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that live inside of your gut. No two people will have the exact same mixture of bacteria living in this area. It will be completely unique based on your diet, your genetic predisposition, and your overall lifestyle. It is estimated that there are between 300 and 500 different kinds of bacteria living in your intestine. These bacteria contain more than two million genes. Many doctors and health professional refer to the collective assortment of bacteria in your gut as the microbiome of your intestines.
What does this microbiome do for your health?
You might be tempted to wonder how you can eradicate all of these bacteria from your body, but you should hold on just a little while longer. They can actually help to indicate certain diseases and even limit the symptoms you may experience. For example, too much bacteria in your gut can lead to issues with your metabolism and result in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. On the other hand, having too few bacteria can contribute to the symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
They can even affect your mental health through the gut-brain axis. Some studies are beginning to show that exposure to certain types of bacteria can actually improve mood. It is thought that you may be able to alter symptoms of depression and anxiety using diet and probiotic supplements to help support the gut microbiome.
How can you support the intestinal flora?
In order to support this intestinal flora, you have to be very conscious of what you eat. Start by eating a very varied diet that allows you to receive a lot of nutrients from different food groups. Fermented foods, prebiotic foods, and whole grains are excellent choices to give your gut a healthy microbiome. You can also take probiotic supplements to help support your new healthy diet.
One of the worst things you can do for your intestinal flora is to take an antibiotic. These pills can kill both the good and the bad bacteria in your gut. Only take them when it is absolutely necessary to eradicate an illness. Then, you should be sure to supplement your diet with more fermented foods and probiotics.
If you are interested in the many ways that your intestinal flora supports your overall health, you may want to consider visiting an integrative medicine clinic. Imagine Wellness Centre is here to answer all of your questions and help you start living a healthier life!