unhealthy bacteriaIt’s not unusual for us to suffer from gut problems from time to time, but if you find yourself regularly dealing with uncomfortable bloating, irregular bowel movements, strange cravings and generally feeling unwell, it could be that your gut is being overwhelmed with unhealthy bacteria.

You may be surprised to hear just how much of an impact bacteria in the gut can have on your overall health. In order to maintain healthy digestion, your gut needs to have a healthy balance of good bacteria. If your gut microbiome is altered, you can suffer from a wide variety of symptoms causing anything from mild discomfort to extreme IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), a term used to describe ulceration colitis and Crohn’s disease.

Millions of Sufferers

It is believed that around 1.6 million people in the US are currently struggling with IBD, but there are even more who experience consistent discomfort as a result of unbalances with their gut mircrobiome. Look out for the following six signs – if you experience any of them regularly, it’s possible that unhealthy bacteria is taking over your digestive system.

  1. Excessive gas and bloating
  2. Persistent diarrhea or constipation
  3. Unusual fatigue and lethargy
  4. Nausea
  5. Regular headaches
  6. Cravings for sugar and refined carbohydrates

How to Re-Balance Your Gut Microbiome

It is possible to optimize your gut microbiome in order to alleviate the symptoms above and better manage Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis. To do so, you have to work on avoiding foods which disrupt your gut’s normal bacteria levels, and increase your consumption of foods which nourish the essential healthy bacteria.

You Should Avoid:

– Sugar
Sugar, particularly processed fructose and refined sugar, is a major contributor to IBD because it nourishes the unhealthy bacteria, yeast and fungus which lead to digestive problems.

– Refined Grains
Unlike whole grains, refined grains tend to be processed by the body very quickly, causing a spoke in blood sugar, a build up of glucose and a chemical reaction which can lead to inflammation, something that only contributes to digestive issues and discomfort.

– Processed Foods
Common additives and emulsifiers found in processed foods have been linked with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, so choose natural, unprocessed food wherever possible.

You should also increase your intake of:

– Blueberries
Rich in antioxidants, fiber and nourishing vitamins, blueberries are a real superfood for people with IBD. Plus, research has found them to help protect against inflammation of the gut.

– Fermented Foods
As long as they haven’t been pasteurized, fermented and cultured foods are a fantastic way to increase your intake of healthy bacteria that will help to get your digestive system in excellent working order. Pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and miso are all examples of delicious fermented foods that you can either buy from a store or make yourself. You could also consume raw milk which tends to be rich in healthy bacteria.

– Coconut Oil
There’s research to suggest that coconut oil can reduce inflammation and stimulate healing of the digestive system, and its microbial properties help to kill of problematic flora such as candida yeast. You can easily incorporate coconut oil into your diet – simply use it in place of other vegetable oils when cooking.

– Fiber
Try to consume 50 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you consume to help regulate your bowel movements. Fresh berries and veggies, raw nuts, beans, chia seeds and flax seeds are all brilliant sources of fiber. If you’re struggling to consume enough, you could consider supplementing with psyllium seed husk, too.

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