Giving Your Gut Flora a Helping Hand

Healthy snack

Staying healthy means getting the right balance in your gut flora. Here are some essential things you can do to help improve your digestive health by giving those good bacteria a little extra boost:

  • Feed the good bacteria. The bacteria in your digestive system need to consume nutrients in order to flourish. The good bacteria like to consume prebiotics, which are an essential ingredient in high-fiber foods. Some of the best foods for prebiotics include garlic, bananas, onions and green veggies. The bad bacteria prefer to feast on fats and sugars, especially those that you’ll find in processed foods. Keep a balanced diet, and watch out for too much fat, starch and sugar.
  • Consume the right probiotics. Consuming probiotics – contained in a number of foods such as yogurt, and also available as nutritional supplements – will help, too. You can consume specific types of probiotics for specific results. For example, the probiotic Bifodobacterium infantis can help with irritable bowel syndrome, while Lactobacillus casei can help with gastrointestinal infections.
  • Watch out for medications. Antibiotics are designed to rid your body of specific pathogens. Unfortunately, they can also kill off some of the good gut flora. Frequent use of antibiotics can severely disturb the balance between good and bad bacteria. You should also avoid heartburn medications when possible; they don’t do as much damage as antibiotics but they can disturb the proportion of good to bad bacteria in the intestines, too.

Taking care of your gut flora can help you in a number of significant ways. It can help to reduce chronic nausea, combat irritable bowel syndrome and is even thought to improve your overall health. Often you can aid your gut flora simply by making some basic changes to your diet, adding a probiotic supplement and talking to your doctor about the medications that you’re taking.