Why gut health and probiotics are essential in a nutshell~
First off, optimal gut health is necessary for physical and mental well being. Healing your gut and taking probiotics either as a supplement, or eating fermented foods is an investment in you, and in your future health and wellness. You are comprised of about 7 lbs of bacteria that live in your body. Our gut flora helps in digestion, protects us from pathogens, detoxifies, produces vitamins and other nutrients, and balances our immune systems (70% of our immune response is located in our gut), and is the seat of our emotional well being and response to stress. There is a reason why our gut is referred to as our second brain. Many emotional imbalances stem from our gut. What many people do not understand is that serotonin also plays a role in gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, the majority of our serotonin is produced in the gut, roughly 95%. GABA receptors for Benzodiazepines and Sleeping Pills are also located in the gut! Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region, including hormones and neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, Glutamate, GABA and Norepinephrine. The gut contains 100 million neurons – more than the spinal cord! Unfortunately the staples of the modern day western diet, grains and white flour, processed foods, sugar, coffee, alcohol, cooked foods, meat, dairy, medications, antibiotics- all have wreaked havoc on the gut and that is why we find a host of symptoms and conditions that modern medicine further treats with a bandaid effect. So the short answer is take your probiotics, the higher the amount the better, eat fermented foods, a diet that plant centers the plate, with nutrient dense foods that are high in fiber, and have a low glycemic load. Limit your intake of processed foods, grains, gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar, coffee…anything that is acidic to the body. Drink a ton of lemon water and your ‘self’ will thank you! If this feels too hard, start with small manageable steps, one green juice or green smoothie a day, educate yourself and pay attention to what you put in your body and ask yourself is this feeding my cells or is this empty nutrition? Consider what an 80/20 plan would look like for you. 80% health and wellness based and 20% of indulgence. Also, it is important to note that pregnant women always pass their flora to their babies, therefore I always recommend infants be put on a decent probiotic.