Does the idea of it still gross you out a bit or does talking about gut health feel as normal to you as talking about the weather? We wont blame you if you’re in the first category but we are going to explain why you should at least be aware of the second!
The gut microbiome is a vast ecosystem of organisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi that live in our digestive system. Each gut contains about 100tn bacteria, many of which are vital for breaking down food and toxins, making vitamins and training our immune systems.
Over the past decade research has been carried out that suggests that our gut health, that is to say our balance of good and bad gut bacteria, could be as influential as our DNA in determining the balance of our overall health. You might have heard someone talk about the gut as our second brain. That’s because scientists have now found a connection between a happy gut and a happy mind – serotonin is produced in the gut after all! As well as being implicated in mental health issues, it’s also thought that the gut microbiome influences our athleticism, weight, immune function, inflammation, allergies, metabolism and appetite.
So you can see that maintaining a happy and healthy gut is incredibly important, and you can do this by making sure that you eat food that promotes the growth of good gut bacteria and by avoiding those that don’t.
Firstly in the don’t category: sugar, refined foods (like bread made with refined white flour, for example), and anything that’s heavily processed. Our general rule is that if all the ingredients are un-pronounceable, best cook something from scratch instead!
In the good-for-your-gut category: Fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi. Prebiotic foods (prebiotics are what the good bacteria feed on), like onions, garlic and artichoke. In general, eating a variety of different foods is much more beneficial than constantly eating the same meals, as this way we get a diversity of different bacteria from the different foods we eat.
If you’re new to all of this, try drinking one of our kombuchas on an empty stomach and you should feel a little lift of energy and mental clarity. Introduce kombucha into your daily routine, it’s a delicious tasting, fizzy drink that’s slightly sweet in flavour – but actually low in sugar as the bacteria and yeasts eat all the sugar up! Win!
And if you really want to feel amazing, get yourself on course of good quality kefir right away. Kefir is like kombucha, but instead of brewing the yeasts and bacteria with tea and sugar instead it’s common to use coconut milk or regular/goats milk (n.b. even if cown’s milk is used the end product is low in lactose as it’s metabolised away by the cultures). Our favourites are Rhythm Health and Chuckling Goat. To feel and see real benefits (expect your skin to get clearer and smoother!), you need to be looking at a LIVE probiotic, a natural food that’s been fermented, not a probiotic capsule. The probiotics contained in pills are dehydrated and dormant, decreasing in efficacy over time as the bacterial strains die off. Pills also generally only contain multiple strains of beneficial yeasts and bacteria that are living and thriving in their own environment and increasing over time.