This is an amazing article on improving your gut health from Naturally Living Ideas. 1. Eat Probiotic Rich Foods Since ancient timespeople have usedprobiotic rich foods, which have been naturally fermented, to provide the good bacteria needed for a healthy gut and overall health. Kimchi, kombucha, kefir, miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, natural yogurt andapple cider vinegarare all examples of fermented foods you can eat for a healthier gut. In fact, some of these couldn’t be simpler to make – here’show to get started fermenting your own foods. 2. Don’t Forget The Prebiotics You can elevate the effectiveness of your probiotic rich foods by consuming some prebiotic foods too. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that ‘feed’ the probiotics, encouraging them grow and multiply in your gut. Prebiotic rich foods include artichoke, asparagus, bananas, chicory,garlic, onions, tomatoes and whole grains. 3. Use Probiotic Supplements While fermented foods are the best and most natural way to get a healthy dose of probiotic bacteria, some people simply can’t stand the thought of consuming these cultures. In this case, probiotic supplements can be a good alternative. It’s very important to choose ahigh-quality supplement from a reputable brand. Conscious Planet has a premium blend of probiotics. Make sure it contains live strains of bacteria – which need to be kept refrigerated. 4. Cut Out Sugar & Processed Foods The bad bacteria in our guts go into overdrive when we eat too much sugar! They are also quite partial to the fats found in processed foods – including cookies, cakes, chips, fries and pastries. In 2010, researcherscomparedItalian children who ate a diet high in fat, sugar and starch with tribal African children who ate high fiber, plant based foods. They found that the African children had more beneficial bugs in their gut. 5. Go Vegetarian Cutting out meat from your diet has a huge number ofhealth benefits– from lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease and diabetes to helping you shed pounds, improve mood and boost nutrient intake. Research now shows that a vegetarian diet can also alter the composition of your gut microbiome for the better. It’s so effective that these changes can be seen in a matter of days! A2014 study, published in the journal Nature, reports that the gut microbiome of subjects changed dramatically within four days of switching from a diet of animal products to a vegetarian one, and vice versa. The microbiota of omnivores, compared to that of vegetarians and vegans, produces more of a chemical that is associated with heart disease, inflammation and intestinal diseases. 6. Open the Windows We now spend more time indoors than ever before. Some surveys estimate that we’re indoors 90% of the time! Fresh air is so important to both the mind and body,as is sunlight, so spending time outdoors is important. But given how much of our day and night is spent inside, we need to be aware of the air qualityindoors too– and the effect this can have on the microbiome of our homes. It's important to open windows and increase natural airflow. This can improve the diversity and health of the microbes in the home, which in turn benefits our bodily microbes. 7. Stress Less While stress is an unavoidable consequence of our busy lives, how we manage that stress matters. The gut isespecially vulnerableto stress, which can affect gastric secretion, gut motility, sensitivity, blood flow and more. Our stress hormones can also influence how gut bacteria affects the production of hormones and the neurochemicals that communicate with the brain, including ones that influence appetite. Shifts in gut microflora induced by stress can alsoleave us opento infection. Long-term stress maylead tothe development of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach ulcers, IBD, IBS, and even food allergies. 8. Laugh! Whoever said that laughter is the best medicine was on to something! There has even beena studyto show that laughter can improve gut health. Researchers studied both healthy people and patients with atopic dermatitis – a disease typically associated with imbalances in gut bacteria. After watching funny movies daily for one week, the patients’ gut flora had actually changed and was becoming more in line with the flora of the healthy participants. 9. Consider if Antibiotics are Always Necessary Some estimate that half of the antibiotics we are prescribed are unnecessary. We already know that this over-prescription leads to drug resistant bacteria, but it may also beseriously impactingthe health of our guts in the long-term. Following a course of broad-spectrum antibiotics, itcan take weeks, months or even years for the gut’s microbes to get back into balance. Shockingly, some researchersbelievethat antibiotics may even be causing permanent changes to the microflora of all people from generation to generation – passed on from mother to child. While antibiotics are obviously very necessary in some cases, quiz your doctor before accepting them without question. According tothe Mayo Clinic, common viral infections that do not benefit from antibiotic treatment include cold and flu, most coughs, most sore throats, some ear infections, some sinus infections and stomach flu. 10. Exercise Regularly Exercise has an important influence on gut flora. It not only increasesspecies diversityand reverses gutmicrobiota changesassociated with obesity, but it also works to reduce stress and the impact that has on the bugs in your digestive system. The earlier you start exercising, the better.New researchhas demonstrated that exercise in the early years of development has a significant impact on the diversity of the gut microbiome. That said, your intestinal bacterial continues to be influenced by your behavior as an adult so cycle, run, swim,start squatting or invest in a kettle bell– it all makes a difference! 11. Get Enough Sleep Getting enough sleep isn’t always easy – in fact,one third of US adult don’t sleep for as long as they should, something which could lead to an unhealthy gut. A2014 study demonstrated that sleep disturbances and irregular sleeping patterns can negatively impact intestinal microbiota, which may lead to inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, the disordered breathing associated with the common condition of sleep apnea has been shown in studies to disrupt the health of the microbiome. Mice subjected to conditions which mimicked the effects of sleep apnea for six weeks showed significant changes to the diversity and makeup of their microbiota. This sleep-gut connection is a two-way street. Scientists believe the bugs in our gut can affect sleep in a number of ways: shifting circadian rhythms and affecting the hormones that regulate our sleeping and waking patterns. Get into a healthy sleeping pattern by letting go of these bad habits, filling your room with sleep promoting plants and establishing a healthy night time routine. 12. Don’t Be A Clean Freak Much like antibiotics alter the gut microbiome by indiscriminately killing all bacteria (even the good), so does our obsession with cleanliness. For example,researchshows that parents who cleaned their child’s pacifier by sucking on it instead of boiling it in water were doing their children a big favor in terms of gut health. These kids were less likely to develop allergies, thanks to immune stimulation by microbes transferred from the parent’s saliva. Children who grow up with a dog also have alower riskof allergies because dogs are associated with a type of house dust that exposes us to important strains of bacteria, like L. johnsonii – an essential species within the gastrointestinal tract. Household cleaners that are marked as antibacterial have got to go – as do mostother chemical laden products. Less toxic cleaners like vinegar,baking soda, lemon juice andcastile soapare much better options. 13. Start Gardening Finally, getting your hands dirty in fresh soil will introduce your immune system to the trillions of microorganisms on the plants and in the ground. Gardening also eases stress and gets you outside in the fresh air – two important factors in a healthy gut. Here are some great tips to help youstart your own organic garden. Ready to improve your gut health? Conscious Planet has a special on Colonyze Probiotics until July 31st or while supplies last. Two bottles for $100. Again, thank you toNaturally Living Ideasfor organizing this research so well.
October has been our cleansing month and now that we are squeaky clean, we need to replenish our bodies with lots of strong healthy microflora to build up our inner ecosystem. Besides taking Conscious Planet's Colonyze (probiotic) nightly, you'll also want increase your inner immunity by making your own homemade Coconut Water Kefir. The benefits of adding kefir to your diet helps to maintain a healthy inner ecosystem which greatly aids digestion and healthy regular elimination; keeps the immune system strong; gives shiny hair, clear skin, bright eyes and a flat abdomen. Equipment you'll need: Mason glass jars and plastic lids (sold in the canning section of Save-On-Foods, health food stores) Do not use metal lids as metal has been known to react with kefir in a way that yields unhealthful elements in your kefir and besides, the kefir will not ferment properly. Make sure you sterilize all materials that will be coming in contact with the kefir or at the very least, wash and rinse in very hot water. The last thing you want is to cultivate a fresh batch of kefir in a container that has traces of bad bacteria. Plastic or wooden spoon Recipe: In a glass bowl add: 1 liter bottle of thawed, unpasteurized organic young Thai Coconut Water - found in most health food stores in the frozen section. Do not use store varieties of coconut water that has been pasteurized. Best brand to purchase is 'Feeding Change'. The coconut water and coconut meat is frozen until ready to use, then thaw. Kefir Starter pack - you can find these in Choices Markets or other health food stores in the refrigerated sections. 1 single starter package 1 probiotic capsule - open cap and add to bowl of coconut water. Colonyze as a probiotic works great. In fact, you can also get consistent results with less work and expense by using a simple quality probiotic capsule without the starter pack if you have difficulty finding a kefir starter pack. Then you would add two capsules of probiotic instead of one. Try both ways and see which is favorable to you. Mix well with a plastic spoon until the starter and probiotic are dissolved. Pour into mason jars as in the picture below, put the plastic lid on jars. Wrap a towel around jars to keep dark. Place jars in your oven. Close oven door. Turn oven light on and the warmth from the oven light is perfect for helping the fermentation process. Its takes about 36 to 48 hour at most. During this time, the probiotics will feed on the sugar in coconut water and leave a slightly fizzy, sour, exlixir. When completed, store in fridge. Take 1/4 cup with meals which greatly aids digestion. Also 1/2 cup at bedtime will establish a healthy inner ecosystem. Studies show that during sleep overnight, the microflora reproduce faster. In the morning, combine a 1/2 cup of kefir with unsweetened cherry juice or black current juice as a great wake-up tonic. Be healthy, be happy, be smart...make kefir.