There are around 40 trillion bacteria in your body. Most of which, believe it or not, are in your intestines. Collectively, they are known as your gut microbiota, and they play a hugely important role in your health and wellness. Why is this? Well, certain types of bacteria in your intestines can contribute to various diseases. Interestingly, the food and supplements that you consume can greatly impact the kinds of bacteria in your body. Here are 3 ways to improve upon the bacteria living in your body, and as a result, promote better gut health.
Stay away from artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are widely used as replacements for sugar. However, studies have shown that they can negatively affect the gut microbiota. One study in rats showed that aspartame, a very common artificial sweetener on today’s market, reduced weight gain, but it also increased blood sugar and impaired insulin response. The rats fed aspartame also had higher Clostridium and Enterobacteriaceae in their intestines – both of which are associated with disease when present in very high numbers. Another study found similar results in mice and humans. It showed that artificial sweeteners had a negative impact on microbiota and blood sugar levels.
Take the right probiotic supplement(s).
Probiotics are live microorganisms – usually bacteria – which exert a specific health benefit when consumed. Probiotics work to change the overall composition of the microbiota in your gut, and in turn, support your metabolism. If you're healthy and want to stay that way, shoot for consuming 50 to 100 billion CFUs of a combo of lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium supplements. Bloated or constipated? Look for Lactobacillus acidophilus or Lactobacillus casei, which help restore gut flora. Can't stop going number two? Types with saccharomyces boulardii to ease antibiotic-associated diarrhea and prevent extreme cases caused by infections.
Eat a diet rich in veggies, fruits, beans, and legumes.
There are hundreds of species of bacteria in your intestines. Each species plays a different role in your health and requires different nutrients for growth. A diverse microbiota is considered to be a healthy one, and a diet consisting of different food types can lead to a diverse microbiota. Unfortunately, the Western diet is not very diverse and is rich in fat and sugar. In fact, it is estimated that 75 percent of the world’s food is produced from only twelve plant and five animal species. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of nutrients for a healthy microbiota. They are high in fiber and stimulate bacteria growth in your gut. Beans and legumes also contain very high amounts of fiber and should be incorporated, too.
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