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  • Hanna Watson

Start Caring About Your Gut Health

Did you know that we are made up of more bacteria cells than human cells?

There are approximately 10 times as many microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, yeasts and parasites within our gastrointestinal tract than there are cells within the body.

Yes, these microorganisms do exert a major influence over our health and the research is growing and evolving. This is an exciting space to watch!

Some of the things that can have a negative impact on our gut include:

  • Junk food – soft drink, sugar, lollies, chips. Theses items are devoid of nutrients.

  • Processed food – breakfast cereals, pies, pastries, frozen meals – usually loaded with sodium, sugar and preservatives to improve taste and shelf life.

  • Not enough fibre (usually due to lack of fresh vegetables and fruit).

  • Excessive alcohol consumption.

  • Excessive/unnecessary antibiotic use.

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as the commonly self-prescribed Ibuprofen (Nurofen).

  • Reflux medication such as Nexium and other proton pump inhibitors (PPI’s) which have been taken daily for years! Just crazy!

  • Lack of exercise.

  • Overseas travel.

  • STRESS! This one is particularly detrimental.

Poor gut health can be linked to food allergies and intolerances, autoimmune disease, mood disorders, skin conditions (acne, rosacea, eczema), asthma, obesity, chronic fatigue, IBS and the list goes on.

Trust me, it’s easier to maintain good gut health than it is to repair it.

How do you repair the gut?

Great question. It all depends on what’s going on and what’s causing it. Everyone is different and therefore requires personalised treatment. This is where your Clinical Nutritionist can help. Click here to book an appointment today.

So how do we maintain good gut health?

  • Start by eliminating/greatly reducing the above negative contributors.

  • Get fibre into you! Increase consumption of vegetables and fruits. Australians do not eat enough fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s a sad and scary fact.

  • Drink fresh water.

  • Exercise.

  • Consume prebiotics and probiotics (as required & prescribed).

  • Increase consumption of gut healing nutrients.

Probiotics. What are they and why should I bother?

Probiotics are live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host.

Great! But what does that mean exactly? Put simply, they’re beneficial when the correct strain is taken for a specific condition and when taken as prescribed by a healthcare practitioner. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammation, eczema, travellers’ diarrhea, post antibiotic use and pregnancy are some examples of situations where specific strains are required.

Most of us have heard of probiotics and have taken them at some stage in our lives, hopefully during and after a course of antibiotics at a minimum. Studies have shown that probiotics can reduce the symptoms of antibiotic associated diarrhoea and are considered safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Are probiotics a waste of money?

They can be, sure! if you’re using the wrong strain in the wrong situation or have purchased an inferior product. Some things to consider include: where was the probiotic manufactured? Who/which company has manufactured the probiotic? Is the probiotic viable?

Please never self-prescribe and always speak to your trusted health professional before supplementing (with anything for that matter).

What’s the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic?

Prebiotics are “selectively fermented ingredients that result in specific changes, in the composition and/or activity in the GI microbiota, thus conferring benefit(s) upon host health”. Think of them as food for the bugs already present in your gut. Some examples of prebiotics include leeks, asparagus, chicory, Jerusalem artichoke, garlic, artichoke, onion, banana and oats.

The major take-away? Start caring about your gut health! If you have a funky gut, perhaps it’s time to make it a priority before things really get out of hand. It’s your choice!

Click here to make an appointment today! I would love to assist you.

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