At All of Nutrition, we often get asked if our clients should be taking a probiotic for gut health. What is a probiotic? Probiotics are live bacteria that are considered “helpful” for gut health. Think about your lawn (if you have one in your yard). When a lawn is healthy, with great grass, there isn’t any space for weeds to grow. Your gut is the same way. When you have a lot of good bacteria, there is less space for the bad bacteria to populate. Probiotics can be especially helpful if you have recently taken an antibiotic or if you have gastrointestinal upsets. If your gut bacteria are balanced, your GI tract is more likely to function the way it should.
Did you know that your body contains more bacteria cells than human cells? Yes! Your body plays host to bacteria cells within your intestines and practically everywhere else. Bacteria cells actually outnumber human cells 10:1. They are an essential part of your ecosystem (or Microbiome) and are critical to your good health. Many of your common digestive ailments are linked to a dysfunctional microbiome, or “Gut Garden” as I love to call it.
So, what can you eat to keep your gut garden healthy? Probiotics can be a great start. It is also important to focus on PREbiotics, which are specific foods that the helpful bacteria like to eat in your gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics give the helpful bacteria the nutrients they need to colonize and keep your gut garden healthy. Think of a real garden. If you plant your tomatoes but then don’t feed and water them, what happens? The weeds take over. You not only need to plant your good bacteria but also give them the proper nutrients to help them thrive. Good prebiotics can include Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leek, onions, asparagus, wheat bran, and bananas, amongst other foods. Really, prebiotics are in the vegetables that you include with your fist of protein and fist of carb as part of The Knockout Method. If half of your plate is made up of vegetables, you are likely meeting your prebiotic needs.
Getting a little dirty also helps to strengthen the biodiversity in your gut. My dad always told me growing up that he never got sick because he swam at the bird refuge (nasty, nasty water) growing up. I always thought he was crazy, but science is catching up and changing the way I view germs and cleanliness. Go ahead and let yourself get a little dirty. Growing your own veggies and getting some of that dirt with it may help protect you from certain diseases.
When your gut garden is working optimally, it can help to reduce inflammation and allergies. It can also help you with weight loss by helping you extract fewer calories from your food while extracting more nutrients. The good news is, the species in your gut garden can shift quickly. It starts to shift within the first day of starting The Knockout Method.
If you are interested in learning more about THE ONE-TWO PUNCH way of life or about how to heal a chronic gut condition, we would love to work with you!