Is conflicting advice about a healthy lifestyle leaving you exhausted and overwhelmed? Despite all the noise, one idea gaining widespread agreement is this – a healthy gut and a healthy body are inseparably linked and boosting your gut health may well be the “x-factor” that finally helps you achieve your health goals.
Everything from your immune system, digestion, metabolism and appearance can reap the benefits of great gut health. And what’s more, scientists are even starting to uncover the links between the digestive system and mental health and happiness.
There’s so much to learn about the positive power of good gut health. Here are 5 key facts you need to know.
A healthy gut goes hand in hand with a strong immune system
We have trillions of tiny bacteria (both good and bad) in our digestive tract. The idea is to tip the balance in favour of the good bacteria – the probiotics – to harness their health-giving powers.
Encouraging good bacteria to grow can help suppress “pathogens” – the bacterial “baddies” – in your gut. This supports your overall health and can mean that you fall sick less often. A healthy gut can also help with other positive immune responses, like reducing allergies and inflammation.
Growing enough good bacteria helps you fight disease and ward off bugs, but it takes effort. Exercise, diet and quality probiotic supplements can all work together to bolster your immunity and keep it strong.
Gut health can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight
When it comes to keeping your weight in check the good bacteria in your body do a major part of the heavy lifting.
Keeping the gut healthy is important for weight loss and weight maintenance because of the role it plays in digestion, absorbing nutrients, and helping you feel fuller for longer.
Unfortunately, the average Australian diet can play havoc with gut health because of its low fibre content and lack of diversity.
A recent CSIRO report (CSIRO Gut Health & Weight Loss Report 2019) points to the fact that having a large and diverse number of healthy bacteria may help reset a sluggish metabolism and prevent obesity. Increasing your intake of prebiotics (we tell you more about these vital organisms below) is an important way of both boosting your fibre intake and encouraging good bacteria to thrive.
A healthy gut can strengthen your bones, hair, skin, nails (and more)
Probiotics found in a healthy gut work wonders when it comes to fighting disease and controlling weight. But they can also benefit your body’s building blocks by providing complementary support alongside other vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
And there are a host of other reasons to encourage healthy bacteria to take up a permanent home in your digestive tract.
Many people notice a decrease in bloating, flatulence and indigestion after switching to a healthy diet or supplementing with probiotics. An additional bonus is the hormone regulating effect of good gut bacteria which can ease symptoms of menopause and perimenopause. And if those things aren’t enough – a healthy and diverse range of good bacteria in the gut can also boost heart health by controlling blood sugar and keeping bad cholesterol levels at bay.
A happy gut can lead to a happy mind
Serotonin – our brain’s “feel good” chemical – has a fascinating origin. In fact, studies have shown that up to 90% of serotonin is produced in the gut. (2019 UCLA report via Science Daily: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/09/190906092809.htm#:~:text=An%20estimated%2090%25%20of%20the,transport%20serotonin%20into%20bacterial%20cells)
When stress triggers “fight or flight” hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, your system is given the go-ahead to shut down “non-essential” functions like digestion. This can have a knock-on effect on overall well being and start an unfortunate downward spiral where both your brain and body suffer.
Building good bacteria in your gut can be the circuit breaker that gets you back on track both physically and mentally.
Certain strains of good bacteria have been singled out as having a role in promoting mental health so if you’re using a probiotic supplement to help lift your mood it’s important to question whether it’s been specifically formulated for the job.
Prebiotics supercharge the power of probiotics for good gut health
Maybe you’ve heard about probiotics but not prebiotics. Or you’re familiar with both but wonder how they’re different.
These sets of organisms are like “bacterial besties” that work together to get the job done. Probiotics increase the type and number of healthy bacteria in the gut, while prebiotics help the probiotic bacteria thrive and flourish.
A varied, fibre-rich diet with plenty of fresh and minimally processed food goes a long way to laying the groundwork for good probiotic and prebiotic bacteria to thrive. But sometimes diet alone fails to do the trick and a quality supplement containing both probiotics and prebiotics can help bridge the gap.
Elementelle Probiotics+ offers a range of premium probiotic and prebiotic supplements, developed in line with the latest scientific advances in gut health. Learn more about how our specially formulated range can provide the boost you need to achieve optimal health and well being.