Why is it important to pay attention to your digestive health?
Digestion is a long and complex process ensuring that the body absorbs all the nutrients it needs. Once ingested, foods pass through several organs (mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine and large intestine) where they are broken down into basic components such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and vitamins, which is the main goal of the digestion. To reach this aim, the digestive tract can rely on bacteria living in the intestine. Without these microorganisms, the nutrients are not available. Those bacteria cover the inner surface of the intestine in order to protect it against the bad bacteria (pathogens) and also to maintain equilibrium between the inside and outside of the intestine. If this equilibrium is broken, a chain reaction is triggered that can cause symptoms like diarrhea. In addition to make sure that nutrients are available, bacteria synthesize several essential vitamins and have an important role in sustaining the immune system. These little gut’s friends have to be pampered in order to keep them alive and healthy.
What steps should one take to ensure his or her digestive health is good?
Different ways can ensure to keep a good digestive health. The diet is important. Eat fibers from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, incorporate probiotics in your diet from fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, kombucha, fermented vegetables) or supplements, and limit foods that are high in fat. Also, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, reduce stress, keep your weight in a healthy range, and if you smoke, quit!
How important is diet?
A balance diet is very important to keep our gut bacteria healthy. From the food we eat, the primary role of our gut bacteria is to help produce micronutrients like vitamins and beak down macronutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Foods really make an impact on the gut microbiome (combination of gut bacteria). Therefore, eating a variety of foods keep a high diversity of gut bacteria amongst its population.
We also have to incorporate into our diet foods that contain probiotics and for those to be beneficial we need to fuel our body with full of prebiotics. You can use the best probiotics in the market but if you don’t eat properly and damage the environment they live in then they are useless. Inevitably, they are some foods to avoid which can induce micobial imbalance:
- High fat,
- Too much alcohol
On the other hand, there are foods that can help a great deal as they have probiotics and prebiotics in them. Probiotics are living-microorganisms that can be found in fermented foods including yoghurt, sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha tea. Prebiotics are non-living organism that feed the good bacteria; they are types of dietary fibres found in foods like legumes, onions, cabbage, garlic, asparagus, oats, barley and beans. So, having a high-fibre diet, increasing the chance of being exposed to more prebiotics and that’s good to know! There is no doubt that a good balance diet with probiotics and prebiotics maintains a high level of good bacteria and keeps the invasion of bad ones away.
What is the most common digestive health problem?
The most common are heartburn, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, constipation and diarrhea.
How can natural supplements help with that problem?
Natural supplement as probiotics may help with several of these problems. The gut bacterial community includes good as well as bad bacteria that live in balance. In a healthy digestive tract, the balance should be around 85% good bacteria and 15% bad bacteria. When a digestive problem occurs, it’s often du to an imbalance which may bring the bad bacteria to take over. A supplementation of probiotics may help to restore the balance.
Diarrhea related to antibiotics is another symptom that could be ease by probiotics. Antibiotics are used to kill bad bacteria. Unfortunately, they don’t discriminate between good and bad bacteria. Therefore, by taking antibiotics, several bacteria, good as well bad, are killed, and others see their growth inhibited. This carnage weakens the inner surface of the intestine’s good bacteria which triggers an accumulation of carbohydrates within the intestine. This high-level of carbohydrates creates an disequilibrium that triggers a flow of water inside the intestine which causes diarrhea. By taking probiotics, the population of good bacteria can be restored more rapidly which will shorten unwanted reaction.
How can natural supplements (i.e. probiotics) help with digestive health overall?
Probiotics are bacteria that are of the same species as the ones in your gut. Bacteria are essential to life. The truth is, you cannot live without them. Can you believe that trillions live in your gut including more than 500 species? From those, less than 10% represent 99% of the bacterial gut community. So, it’s important to keep a healthy bacterial community in your digestive tract. Supplements as probiotics will help to maintain this community healthy. In this way, you ensure to get the protection against bad bacteria and availability and synthesis of nutrients even if the intestinal equilibrium is broken. Often, this disequilibrium occurs unknowingly. Just think about a diarrhea that hit from nowhere.
Another supplement such as prebiotics may help digestive health. Prebiotics are soluble fiber known to stimulate the growth of good bacteria. In fact, probiotics are food for bacteria. Inulin is a well-known prebiotic.