Guest blog by Sam Hadadi,
We’ve lost count of the number of times that we’ve been told you are what you eat. Yet when it comes to our tums and our overall health, every nutritionist’s favourite saying is pretty much spot on…
You probably don’t need us to tell you that whatever we feed our body affects our insides - especially when it comes to the gut. Yet just how important is it to keep our digestive system in tip-top condition? Can it really be the key to keeping us healthy and free from disease?
Well, to cut a long story short, yes! Centuries ago, the mighty clever, ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was quoted as saying that “all disease begins in the gut.” Even all this time later, he’s right – scientists believe that around 75% of our immune system lies in the gut, with over 500 species of bacteria present at any one time.
Want to be healthy, happy and glow from within? Then it all starts from within…
When so much of your immune system hides in the gut, it goes without saying that if you want to fight off disease, then you need to take care of it.
You see, the health of your digestive system can affect all sorts of things, from how your body absorbs the good stuff (think vitamins, minerals and nutrients) to how it flushes out toxins and nasties. With three pounds of bacteria lurking in your gut (each of us has an astonishing 100 trillion microorganisms hiding inside) its health can also affect hormone regulation, allergies, skin problems, digestion, immune response and even your mental health.
Put it this way - if you have too much bad bacteria in your insides, or not enough of the good guys (such as lactobacillus or bifidobacteria), then your health can be seriously affected. In other words, the happier your gut is, the healthier you are.
One of the best ways to keep your gut ticking along nicely is to protect the good bacteria. You can do this by avoiding antibiotics (although we know that this isn’t always possible), cutting back on processed foods and sugars and managing stress wherever you can.
However, everyone needs a helping hand every now and again. To love your gut, it’s crucial to boost those clever probiotics, which are essentially live bacteria and yeasts that are good for the digestive system. Want to know more? Here’s how you can improve your probiotic balance:
Find out more on helping your gut health with Vicky Ware's articles:
and how to fuel those good bacteria in
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Sam Hadadi is an ex-BBC journalist and now a freelance writer specialising in fitness and food.