When you hear the word bacteria, chances are you consider it something negative. However, although many bacteria can make you sick, your body contains bacteria that actually helps keep you healthy including those found in your gut. Here’s how your gut health affects your whole body. (1)
Gut Health Body Impact And Gut Microbiome
Your gut bacteria are called your gut microbiome. Your microbiome lives in your digestive tract where it helps the nutrients from the foods you eat get to work. These bacteria grow when you eat, so it takes up most of the space in your gut. As a result, “bad” bacteria have no place to live. This natural process helps maintain the right balance of healthy bacteria. However, when your gut microbiome accumulates too many bad bacteria it increases risk for health issues. For example studies show one particular type of “bad” bacteria can lead to Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). (1,2,3,4,5)
Gut Health Body Impact On TMAO
While there are specific bacteria that cause digestive issues, other kinds can increase production of TMAO (trimethylamine-N-oxide). Certain foods like red meat and eggs allow this type of bacteria to produce TMAO in your liver. As a result TMAO could increase cholesterol in your blood vessels. TMAO is linked to chronic kidney disease as well as heart disease. (6)
Gut Health Body Impact On Your Brain
As you might already know your brain is a great communicator sending messages constantly throughout your body. What you might not know however is that it is believed your gut might actually respond. According to studies, your gut microbiome’s balance could also impact emotions, as well as how the brain processes information delivered from the senses… whether it is textures, sounds, sight or even flavor. When there are changes in gut balance, this could be a possible contributor to conditions from autism spectrum disorder to anxiety and depression. (7,8,9)
Gut Health Body Impact On Obesity
Studies show it’s possible obesity could be related to an unhealthy microbiome resulting in issues with feelings of hunger or being full. This possible tie involves the pituitary gland, which triggers appetite. Since this gland can also affect gut bacteria balance, some researchers are hopeful this could prove to lead to a possible treatment for obesity. (9)
Improving Gut Health Body Impact
The question is can you improve the impact your gut health has on your body, to make you healthier? There are ways you can help correct your gut microbiome balance with foods that include the following: (10,11,12)
- Probiotics are found in your intestinal tract and are considered “good” bacteria as they strengthen your immune system. Eating dairy products such as aged cheese and yogurt can contain probiotics such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli. You can also find them in pickled vegetables or fermented cabbage like kimchi and sauerkraut.
- Prebiotics actually feed probiotics so are also considered good. They also help absorb calcium while boosting healthy bacteria growth. They are found in many fruits and vegetables including bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, asparagus, and artichokes. When choosing breads and pastas opt for those made with whole wheat.
- Synbiotics combine prebiotics and probiotics so you can help your probiotics last longer. You can enjoy combining the foods above such as stir fried veggies or a bowl of bananas and yogurt.
If you would like more suggestions on healthy foods for your gut, click here for healthy recipes.
- UConn Today: “How Bactera Keep Us Healthy.”
- Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal: “Part 1: The Human Gut Microbiome in Health and Disease.”
- ACP Microbe Institute: “Microbe Magic,” “The Good Bacteria.”
- Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation: “Gut Microbiome Points To Cures and Treatment for IBD.”
- International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: “Gut Bacteria and IBS.”
- Cleveland Clinic: “How Gut Bacteria May Help Curb Your Heart Disease.”
- University of California, Los Angeles: “Changing Gut Bacteria Through Diet Affects Brain Function, UCLA Study Shows.”
- Journal of Neuroscience: “Gut Microbes and the Brain: Paradigm Shift in Neuroscience.”
- Endocrine Society: “Magnetic Brain Stimulation Causes Weight Loss By Making Gut Bacteria Healthier.”
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Prebiotics and Probiotics: Creating a Healthier You.”
- Mayo Clinic: “What Are Probiotics?”
- Journal of Food Science and Technology: “Probiotics, Prebiotics and Synbiotics — A Review.”