You are what you feed the trillions of microbes that live in your digestive tract, the gut.
Your gut is home to over 100 trillion bacteria. They are called "gut flora." Having a clean and healthy gut flora is incredibly important for your overall well-being.
An imbalanced diet, lifestyle, and certain environmental factors can negatively affect your gut bacteria. Bacteria are broadly categorized into two types: those beneficial for the gut are "good bacteria," while bacteria that cause harm to the gut are nothing but "bad bacteria." Let’s understand how this bad bacteria comes into your gut.
What Are Bad Bacteria and What do they do?
There are zillion of species of bacteria residing in your gut. They are responsible for different functions. Good bacteria is friendly, while bad bacteria is harmful. Generally bacteria in the gut belong these four groups: Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Actinobacteria or Proteobacteria.
Each group of bacteria plays a particular role and requires specific nutrients for growth.
The good gut bacteria are important for digestion, metabolism and absorption. They kill harmful bacteria and other microorganisms and produce vitamins like Biotin/Vitamin K, folate and short-chain fatty acids.
When the gut flora contains harmful bacteria and not enough good bacteria, an imbalance can occur. This is known as dysbiosis.
Insulin resistance, weight gain, inflammation, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer have all been connected to dysbiosis and a decline in the variety of the gut flora.
Keep your gut bacteria as friendly and plentiful as possible as a result.
1. Lack of Diverse Range of Foods
Generally, a rich and diverse gut flora is considered to be a healthy one.
A lack of diversified gut flora limits recovery from harmful impact, such as stomach infection, other infections or doses of antibiotics. A diet consisting of a wide variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can lead to a more diverse gut flora. In fact, changing up diet can change your gut flora until it gets adjusted in some days. The food you eat provides nutrients that help bacteria to grow. A diet rich in whole foods provides your gut with a variety of nutrients promoting the growth of different types of bacteria, resulting in a more diverse gut flora.
Today, 75% of the world’s food supply comes from only 12 plants and five animal species (Source: Healthline).
2. Lack of Prebiotic & Probiotics in the Diet
Prebiotics are a type of specialized fiber. They encourage the growth of good bacteria in the stomach by acting like fertilizers. Many foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, naturally contain prebiotic fiber. Lack of them in the diet may be harmful to your overall digestive health.
Foods high in prebiotics include Lentils, chickpeas and beans, Oats, Bananas, Asparagus, Garlic, Onions, Nuts.
Probiotics are different in that they contain live organisms, usually specific strains of bacteria that directly add to the microbes in your gut as friendly bacteria.
Probiotic supplements also contain live organisms. A single dose may include a particular strain of microbe or blend of microbes. Like WonderPro, the super probiotic contains 5 billion cfu per gram. It's super easy to consume, you can have WonderPro in any time of the day, just open and consume directly. It needs no refrigeration. It is also preservative-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, lactose-free.
3. Too much of alcohol consumption and Smoking
In terms of gut health, addiction of alcohol consumption can cause serious problems, including dysbiosis.
Cigarette smoking is also one of the most important environmental risk factors for inflammatory bowel disease, a disease characterized by ongoing inflammation of the digestive tract.
Smokers are twice as likely to have Crohn’s disease, a common type of inflammatory bowel disease, compared to non-smokers.
Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections and diseases caused by bacteria, such as urinary tract infections, stomach infection, septic sore throat. They work by either killing bacteria or preventing them from multiplying. We can’t avoid antibiotics as they have saved millions of lives over the past 80 years.
However, one of the highlighted drawbacks is that they affect both good and bad bacteria. In fact, even a single antibiotic treatment can lead to harmful changes in the composition and diversity of the gut flora.
Antibiotics usually cause a short-term decline in beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, and can temporarily increase harmful bacteria like Clostridium.
5. Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity burns energy. Walking, gardening, swimming and cycling are all common routine physical activities. Being physically active has health benefits,like weight loss, lower stress levels and a reduced risk of chronic disease. Recent studies suggest that physical activity may also alter the gut bacteria, improving gut health.
Higher fitness levels have been associated with a greater abundance of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that’s important for overall health, and butyrate-producing bacteria.
6. Lack of Sleep
Getting good sleep is very important for overall health. Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to many diseases, including obesity and heart disease. Sleep is so important that your body has its own time-keeping clock, known as your circadian rhythm. A 24-hour internal clock that affects your brain, body and hormones. It can keep you alert and awake, but it can also tell your body when it's time to sleep.
Disrupting your body clock through a lack of sleep, work and eating late at night may have harmful effects on your gut bacteria.
7. Stress & Anxiety
Being healthy isn’t only about diet, and body, Its also about your mind. High stress levels have harmful effects on the body. Stress can increase sensitivity, reduce blood flow and alter the good gut bacteria.
How to Improve Gut Health
A healthy gut flora rich in friendly bacteria is essential for your overall health.
Here are some tips on how to improve your gut flora:
Prebiotic foods: Eat foods rich in prebiotic fibers, such as legumes, onions, asparagus, oats, bananas and others.
Consume more probiotics: Probiotics may increase the abundance of healthy gut bacteria. Fermented foods, such as yogurt. You could also start taking a probiotic supplement. WonderPro, the super probiotic contains 5 good bacteria that are essential for a healthy gut flora.
Quality Sleep: To improve sleep quality, try a structured sleep routine so that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
ManageStress: Regular exercise, meditation and deep breathing exercises may help reduce your stress levels. If you regularly feel overwhelmed with stress, you may want to consider seeing a psychologist.
Add polyphenols to diet: Polyphenols are packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. Good sources include blueberries, dark chocolate and green tea.
Gut bacteria play an important role in your overall health, and disruption to the gut flora has been linked to a number of health problems. Diet and lifestyle factors, including poor sleep quality, alcohol consumption and inactivity, can harm your gut bacteria.
Alternatively, living a healthy lifestyle characterized by regular physical activity, low stress and a variety of whole foods is the best way to ensure a healthy gut flora.
In many cases, fermented foods and probiotic supplements may help as well. WonderPro Super Probiotic is a powerful supplement with five essential good bacteria that give you immunity against infections and digestive problems. Probiotics are very essential for active metabolism. Wonderpro helps keep the balance of friendly bacteria in your gut. A healthy gut improves mental health and heart health. Therefore, both your mind and heart are in the hands of your gut.