Blog Header Image

Heather Benek


May 23, 2024

The Secret to Gut Health

Bacteria is an inevitable part of our lives and our state of health. This is a good thing because beneficial bacteria does all sorts of incredible things for us. A healthy gut means that your gastrointestinal tract has a good balance of microbes, or bacteria.

Understanding the roles of beneficial bacteria in your gut, the effect of an overgrowth of harmful bacteria, what harms the good guys, and how to support the growth of good bacteria are all key to ruling your bacteria universe effectively and in turn, supporting your little bacteria citizens to work in your favor.

Like it or not, you’re the ruler of your universe and a revolution never goes well for the person at the top… so make friends with the bacteria that works for you, not against you!

TLDR - CLICK HERE to download the Secret to Gut Health worksheet!

Good bacteria plays a crucial role in creating serotonin which helps us feel happy and creates GABA which calms the brain. Bacteria controls your immune system, helps regulate blood sugar, speeds up metabolism, gets  rid of toxins, and helps obtain energy from the foods you eat. Despite all this, we live in a world that seeks to destroy bacteria at every turn. The issue with using antibacterial soaps, lotions, and antibiotics is that they don't discriminate, thus the good and the bad bacteria are compromised which leaves us vulnerable to overpopulation of bad bacteria. For this reason it is exceptionally important to take action to support good bacteria.

We can do this by introducing good bacteria to our gut through fermented foods, reducing things that kill the good bacteria, and feeding the good guys polyphenols and prebiotic food.

What destroys the good bugs the good bacteria
Antibacterial soap, antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash, meat that comes from an animal that has been fed antibiotics, and using multiple rounds of antibiotics ourselves. I am in no way dissing the use of antibiotics, they literally save lives. However, too much of a good thing can become harmful.
Foods or ingredients that destroy the good bacteria in your gut include monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial food coloring, sodium nitrate, guar gum, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats like partially hydrogenated oils, canola oil, and vegetable oil.

Common signs of gut bacteria imbalance can include, autoimmune problems, digestive issues, sleep issues, skin rashes and allergies, sugar cravings, unexplained fatigue or sluggishness, unexplained mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety, unexplained weight gain or weight loss.

To support your beneficial bacteria, focus on the three P’s: probiotics, polyphenols, and prebiotic foods.

Probiotic rich foods introduce healthy and diverse bacteria and are key to a well functioning microbiome. Polyphenols and prebiotic foods help feed the good bacteria.

You need each of these three P’s in your diet on a daily basis.

Polyphenol food examples include cloves, olives, dark chocolate, berries and raw nuts, broccoli, shallots, Brussels sprouts, and parsley.

Prebiotic foods include Chicory root, dandelion root, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leeks, asparagus, red kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas, cashews, pistachios, hummus, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flaxseeds. Probiotic rich foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, curtido, natto, tempeh, plain probiotic rich yogurts (read the label, the more probiotics listed the better), Kombucha (with 4 grams or less of sugar per serving), water kefir, raw dairy kefir. Yogurt is one that people typically have the most access to so look for the following: ingredients that list Lactobacillus, Streptococcus, and Bifidobacterium and/or wording that says, “live and active culture” on the labeling, it may also be abbreviated as LAC.

As far back as 500 BCE, even Hippocrates was quoted saying that "all disease begins in the gut." While this may be a bit hyperbolic, the importance of the gut microbiome is not to be taken lightly.

So click the link below and grab your guide! It'll look great on your fridge!

CLICK HERE to download the Secret to Gut Health worksheet!

Continue reading