Wednesday, 4 March 2020 / Topics:
The human gut is one of the biggest revelations in nutritional science and medicine in the past 50 years. Health professionals are increasingly recognising the hugely important role that the gut plays in physical and mental health.
To help us understand more clearly about the importance of gut health, Dietitian and co-founder of Sprout Cooking School, Themis Chryssidis has a chat to us.
The term “gut” refers to the gastrointestinal tract, which includes your:
Themis says, “The digestive tract is responsible for breaking down and digesting the food you eat. It extracts and absorbs nutrients into your blood stream, which are then used, excreted or stored for later use.”
We’re now learning about the role of gut health in terms of:
Themis says “good” and “bad” bacteria exist throughout our body. He also says “a healthy microbiome (the environment where organisms live) ensures that bad bacteria otherwise known as pathogens don’t rapidly multiply and spread disease and infection by secreting toxins that impact normal cell function.”
Good strains of bacteria help to create a healthy immune system and slow and prevent the rate of growth of bad bacteria.
If the bad bacteria outnumber the good bacteria it can cause you to become sick and this is usually when antibiotics are prescribed. However, antibiotics can also kill good bacteria so it’s recommended to take a supplement or increase your intake of probiotics afterwards.
Both probiotics and prebiotics are important for a healthy functioning gut, but they have two very different roles. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria, while prebiotics are food for the bacteria.
Probiotics are live bacteria found in certain foods or supplements. They can provide numerous health benefits.
Themis says when probiotics are consumed in adequate amounts, it can lead to improved digestion and immunity and even a healthy and happy mind.
Eating fermented foods is a great way to increase your intake of probiotics. They contain beneficial bacteria that thrive on the naturally occurring sugar or fibre in the food.
Some examples of probiotic foods:
Prebiotics are basically fibre that is not absorbed in the small intestine. Once this fibre passes into the large intestine it’s then used to help reduce inflammation, keep the large bowel healthy and influence appetite regulation and immunity.
Some examples of prebiotic foods:
While every person has a different range of gut bacteria, it’s important to try to keep a healthy balance of bacteria.
Here are the top tips for a happy gut: