Make bacteria your buddy

Make bacteria your buddy

Your gut may look toned and healthy, but what’s it like on the inside?

Our bodies contain more than 100 trillion bacteria. Many are actually beneficial, known as ‘friendly bacteria’ or ‘probiotic’ bacteria. These live on their host and in return give positive health benefits.

The most beneficial bacteria are the lactic acid group which live in our digestive tract. These include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidiobacterium. They help the body digest food, thereby increasing the amount of nutrition available to us.

Antibiotics and antibacterial products kill off many of our beneficial bacteria. It’s believed a reduction in gut flora is the cause of many health problems. Putting good bacteria back into our bodies is a good way to redress the balance.

How to be friendly to your bacteria

  • Eat dairy foods rich in probiotics. Natural yoghurt, kefir, soya milk and even dark chocolate are great choices.
  • Eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, miso, blue cheese and olives.
  • Eat sourdough. This contains wild yeasts and natural bacteria.
  • Take prebiotics to replenish good bacteria.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods. This encourages gut microbiota which is wide and supportive.

How bacteria is friendly to you

  • Weight loss. Foods containing lactic acid (such as yoghurt) improve the ability to extract energy from food and discourage fat storage. They also help fill us up by aiding digestion.
  • Higher immunity. Around 75 per cent of our immune cells live in our gut. Foods high in probiotics are therefore believed to help fight colds and flu.
  • Protection against allergies.
  • Protection against diarrhoea, IBS and flatulence.
  • Improved mental health. Good bacteria produce a signal which curbs depression and anxiety.

What’s the simple solution to healthy guts?

Easy.

Gym and yoghurt!

 

 

Comments

Phillip H.
1 April 2014

Phillip H.

interesting - so probiotics do work! I always thought they would be destroyed by stomach acid and not get as far as the intestines. I've learned something

Freya W.
6 March 2014

Freya W.

Yoghurt is so good for your gut, it really helps with things like bloating and ibs etc.

Mary C.
5 March 2014

Mary C.

No way are probiotics a waste of money! Anyone who has ever been floored by post-antibiotics yeast infections will tell you that. And it's not just a women's problem either, as my husband will confirm!

Derek B.
5 March 2014

Derek B.

Hmmmm I'm sure I've read somewhere that probiotics and prebiotics fall into that category of supplements that are a waste of your money. Makes much more sense to stick to a healthy diet, in my opinion.

Tanith A.
5 March 2014

Tanith A.

You don't need to resort to dairy or any other animal foods to up the good bacteria in your gut. I rely on a wide variety of vegetables and include plenty of fermented foods in my diet - especially miso. If I have to take antibiotics, I'll invest in a course of probiotics, but generally eating a healthy, plant-based diet is all you need to do for a healthy gut.

Matthew C.
5 March 2014

Matthew C.

I've done a lot of reading on nutrition and yogurt consistently comes up as one of the best things to eat. People worrying about dairy should remember that yogurt (unsweetened) is a completely natural product. You really couldn't have any bad effects from eating it, only benefits. (unlike pasteurised skimmed milk, which is highly processed and completely unnatural, lacking so many nutrients).

Sasha B.
2 March 2014

Sasha B.

Richard - yoghurt has healthy bacteria. Plain cow's milk has none.

Sasha B.
2 March 2014

Sasha B.

We definitely need to control the amount of antibiotics we take. I took loads of antibiotics for years to control acne and i now suffer from regular yeast infections. My doctor is great and is really cautious about giving them out to my children unless they're really needed. The dangers of taking antibiotics should be more well known.

craig t.
2 March 2014

craig t.

I really believe we need these bacteria. I suffer from ibs and it got really bad last year. i took a course of probiotics and personally i felt a lot better after. I don't know if you'd get enough from natural food sources, regrettably so supplements is the way for me.

Richard H.
2 March 2014

Richard H.

I thought diary wasn't supposed to be good for you. Does yogurt differ massively from milk?

Would you like to post a comment? Please register or log in.

Log In Register

Share this

Subscribe

Popular Posts

By continuing to use our site, you are agreeing to the use of cookies. You can change this and find out more by following this link.