Good Gut Bacteria vs Bad Gut Bacteria
There exists around 100 trillion bacteria in our guts, adding around a kilo to our total body weight. They are located in the colon which is the long part of the large intestine. They are called gut flora - each cell is a teeny weeny living thing. Mostly, they are good and benefit us. However, some are detrimental and cause disease. We all need to keep the good bacteria in place, ensuring they are healthy and happy, and that they outnumber the bad bacteria. Here is a clever pic of some:-
We can sometimes ingest harmful bacteria through food or when we haphazardly place other things in our mouth.
The good bacteria ferment dietary fibre from foods of plant origin. Our bodies can't digest fibre, so it travels through to the colon, where the bacteria are waiting for it. They ferment the fibre - this process of fermentation helps us to absorb minerals and fight cancer.
The most prominent good bacteria is lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. The presence of the latter means there is less chance of us developing allergies. The lactobacillus produce lactic acid, helping to eradicate the bad bacteria. They also produce vitamin B12 and vitamin K.
When we feel unwell, tired, stressed out, or when taking antibiotics, our gut flora is suffering too and could be declining. When our good bacteria is in decline, the bad bacteria accelerates in growth, prohibiting the good bacteria from carrying out their due functions: when not much fermentation occurs in our gut, our faeces become watery. With an underpopulated gut flora, people notice they are more windy with irregular bowel movements.
This leads on to my next point; what do we need to do to keep our gut flora healthy and working well?
Consuming probiotics may be a good idea to boost healthy gut bacteria growth, however some research suggests that drinking probiotic drinks is slightly in vain as most of the bacteria in them are killed by our stomach acid. Also, the number of bacteria present in the yoghurt is so minute in comparison with the population already in our gut.
Consuming prebiotics is an excellent solution too because they act as as food for the good bacteria. Prebiotics can be found in onion, garlic and bananas.
In order to increase your intake of fibre and prebiotics, I have developed a delicious barbecue recipe which encompasses healthy foods that your gut bacteria will love. This is the recipe video here:- .