Updated: Dec 1, 2018
The gut is the largest immune system in the body. (See, we told you this is a gutsy story…)
The gut (also known as the digestive tract) is your connection to the outside world, and it possesses a defense mechanism to protect us. A healthy gut has about 400-500 different species of bacteria growing in it. In good health (illness free), it digests, absorbs, and eliminates with ease.
There are literally tens of trillions of gut microbiota (or gut flora) in our gut. About one-third of the microbiota is common to everyone, while two-thirds are individual to each person, serving almost like an identity card!
These micro-organisms have direct and indirect functions in the digestion and absorption of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, as well as absorption of bile acids and vitamin B12, all necessary for your body to function.
Numerous factors can upset the normal environment of your gut, such as giving birth, diet, age, hormones, and antibiotics. It is well worth the investment of time to keep your digestive tract working: Did you know that your gut is the source of 90% of your health issues?
While your gut takes care of you, you need to take care of your gut… one of the best ways to help ensure your gut is in fine working order is by taking probiotics!
Probiotics are foods or supplements that provide live, active, cultures that use your gut as a host to live in. They live on the bad bacteria in your stomach and intestines, leaving the good, beneficial bacteria behind. Probiotics are found in foods like yogurt, kefir, soft cheeses (cottage cheese, gouda), miso, tofu, sauerkraut, sour pickles, and buttermilk to name a few. Keep in mind, you may need probiotic supplements if you’re not able to eat enough of the foods to provide the accurate amount of probiotics needed for you.
(This article is courtesy of Andrea Ramos, M.S. Clinical Nutritionist)