So many great questions about probiotics this month. Gut health is one important part of whole body health. Did you know most diseases begin in the gut? 90% of our cells are bacteria cells and 10% are human cells. Thousands of species of bacteria all have different functions. Some of the bacteria digest foods, some produce different vitamins and hormones, some respond to medicines and infections, some control your blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and some control your risk for obesity or diabetes. These bacteria control almost every process in your body!
Our brain and gut are connected through the enteric nervous system. The belly and brain are connected physically and biochemically. What does this really mean? The types of bacteria in our gut controls the way we think, behave, and feel. Your gut health is vitally important in your transformation journey.
Let's make a new goal this month to maintain a healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. There are many reasons how the delicate balance of a healthy gut is compromised. We eat diets of sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. We consume antibiotics and have too much stress. These areas create an imbalance causing the bad bacteria to shift from a single cell of yeast into a mycelial fungus. Thus, causing gut diseases and other problems in our bodies.
So what can we do to keep it balanced and try to regain gut health?
- Cutting back on sugar, processed foods, antibiotics, NSAIDS, steroids, and synthetic hormones
- Cut back on stress. Stress is harmful to our health and is actually the second cause of unbalanced gut flora. Take more deep breathes and use exercise to de-stress.
- Read food labels to decrease added sugar and processed foods
- Eat whole, live, raw foods
- Supplement with a quality probiotic (kombucha, supplement, fermented foods)
The colon (gut) has at least 500 different kinds of bacteria! One of the bacteria is the bifidobacteria making up the majority of the "good" bacteria that is in your gut. This good bacteria is benefited by the intake of probiotics.
Probiotics can help your digestive tract and help take up space in your stomach that could be taken over by a less healthful product or organism. Probiotics can be found in foods that have live and active cultures. A great source of probiotics is found in yogurt, kefir, Kombucha, and sauerkraut.
It is important to choose yogurt products that are made with milk from cows that eat organic food. Additionally, try to choose yogurt or kefir that does not have any added sugars, colors, or flavors that have been added by heat after that was fermented. The best way to know if you are choosing yogurt that has the probiotics you need is to see if it has the LAC seal, standing for Live and Active Cultures. We encourage you to add more probiotics into your diet and then help the probiotics by eating more fiber, too!
Fiber is important for overall health, but it is found that around 90% of Americans do not meet the recommendation for dietary fiber. Women should work to eat 25 grams per day and studies encourage you to have 40-50 grams of fiber, in order to have optimal gut health. Adding fiber and probiotics to your diet can help the number of probiotics in your colon, this will improve your health.
Here are some fiber-filled foods you can add to your diet!
- Avocado- 1/2 cup serving size with 8 grams of fiber
- Raspberries- 1 cup serving size with 8 grams of fiber
- Lentils, cooked- 1 cup serving size with 15.6 grams of fiber
- Black beans, cooked- 1 cup serving size with 15 grams of fiber
In addition to your dietary needs, it is important to focus on your exercise, time spent resting, and the amount of sleep you get each night. As you know, exercise is such an important part of whole body health. Regular exercise can help you have a greater diversity of bacteria in your stomach. Also, we forget that rest is needed for whole body health. Stress can add to the amount of adrenalin your body gives off and therefore speeds up everything occurring in your body. As a result, adrenalin can cause your food to pass through too quickly and can lead to a negative impact on your stomach's health. Take time each day to check in with your exercise and rest balance.
Here are some great recipes that will add in more probiotics and fiber to your meals!
Flora-Flourishing Meal in a Jar
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup plain Kefir
- 1 teaspoon real maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons whole grain oats
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus additional for sprinkling
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds or nut of choice
In a mason jar or bowl, combine yogurt, Kefir, syrup, oats, chia seeds, and ground cinnamon. Let stand 5 minutes. Top with frozen mixed berries in jar or layer the mixture. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with almonds. Refrigerate overnight or up to two days.
Farro & Black Bean Salad
- 1 cup of farro, cooked according to package directions
- 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed
- 1/2 cup corn or edamame, (thawed if frozen)
- 1 roasted red bell pepper (from jar), diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced (about 3/4 teaspoon)
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or Italian parsley
- 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir gently to combine! Enjoy!
Try to add fiber and probiotics to your diet this week. You can do it! If you would like to meet with our nutrition consultant, Katie Woodall, or Registered Dietitian, Kaeti Shurling please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a 1-1, 30-minute session or 55-minute. This 1-1 session will allow you to talk about you specific nutrition, meal planning, give you new recipes to try, and a plan to succeed! Let's finish this week strong! Let us know if you have any questions!