When we were young, we were told to eat our fruits and vegetables. As adults, we’re reminded to get enough fiber in our diet.
We’ve also been advised that bacteria are bad—except the bacteria in our gut.
What Are Gut Bacteria?
It turns out our bodies are already loaded with trillions of bacteria. They help digest food and play an important role in your well-being.
The bacteria live throughout your body, but the ones in your gut may have the biggest impact on your well-being. They line your entire digestive system. Most live in your intestines and colon. They affect everything from your metabolism to your mood to your immune system.
What Factors Affect Gut Health?
Many factors can change your gut health, for better or worse, including those listed in the table below:
Gut Bacteria and Disease
According to WebMD, “Scientists have begun to draw links between the following illnesses and the bacteria in your gut.” This is what they’ve found:
Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease: Your gut bacteria affect your body’s metabolism. They determine things like how many calories you get from food and what kinds of nutrients you draw from it. Too much gut bacteria can make you turn fiber into fatty acids. This may cause fat deposits in your liver, which can lead to something called “metabolic syndrome” — a condition that often leads to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Inflammatory bowel diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis: People with these conditions are believed to have lower levels of certain anti-inflammatory gut bacteria.
Colon cancer: Studies show that people with it have a different gut microbiota, including higher levels of disease-causing bacteria, than healthy people.
Anxiety, depression, and autism: The gut is packed with nerve endings that communicate with the brain. Your doctor may call this connection the “gut-brain axis.” Studies have suggested a link between gut bacteria and disorders of the central nervous system, like anxiety, depression, and autism.
Arthritis: It’s thought that people with rheumatoid arthritis may have greater amounts of a bacteria linked to inflammation than people without it.
How can you get healthy gut bacteria?
The more you take care to develop gut health, the more it will help increase your energy, improve your sleep, balance your stress levels, diminish your risk for cancer and other diseases and even help you lose weight. Making small changes now will pay big dividends in the way you think, feel and function.
Keep in mind, not all probiotic preparations are the same, so discuss the options with your doctor before you take one.
All content and information are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for the advice, diagnosis, and/or treatment by a qualified medical practitioner.
Before starting any diet or exercise regimen, check with your physician to see what’s best for you.
Proactive Risk Solutions is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles. The Proactive Health Management Plan allows us to provide more benefits for employees while helping business financials.
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