If you’re not thinking about your gut health, you’re really not thinking about your overall health. At all.
Your gut may play a role in way more than just digestion. It could influence mood, immunity, metabolism, and the functionality of your body’s internal systems.
How does it have this kind of power? Think about it this way: you’ve got trillions of cells in your body that most consider central to existence. Well, “gut health” is really a way of describing the bacterial population in your system – your microbiome – which vastly outnumbers cells.
You are more bacteria than human cells.
So, how do you make sure you’ve got the best bacteria to keep you feeling good and healthy? Make sure you’re cultivating the right kinds and feeding them adequately.
Your genetics certainly play a role in your microbiome. But that’s not the only factor involved. You’ve got the power to control what bacteria populate your gut and either build or diminish your health.
Prebiotics and probiotics play a huge role in gut health. Probiotics are literal living bacteria that you can eat to improve your gut health. Prebiotics are the things you can eat that actually feed these bacteria to help them thrive.
Probiotics are found in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, papaya, and pickles. Prebiotics are in most plant-based foods. Fibrous foods are generally prebiotic and help feed your gut what it needs for optimal health.
On the other hand, processed and sugary foods can populate your gut with unhealthy bacteria. These bacteria can promote inflammation, bad moods, fatigue, digestive problems, and more.
But they are not permanent residents. You can potentially evict them, in time, by eating more vegetables and plant-based foods, boosting probiotic intake, and limiting processed foods and sugary drinks.