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3 Ways your Gut Impacts you + 5 Natural Probiotics!

“We are, at least from the standpoint of DNA, more microbial than human.” – Tom Insel, Director of NIMH

The gut microbiota, consisting of over 2 million unique bacterial genes, 1,000 different species of bacteria and trillions of cells that together weigh anywhere from 1-3 pounds, refers to the microbe population living in our intestine. Growing research indicates that the micro-organisms in your gut have a greater impact on your life than ever realized before, and natural probiotics are instrumental in keeping your gut flora diverse and healthy.

3 Surprising Ways your Gut Bacteria Affects You

Gut Health + Natural Probiotics

The bacteria in your intestines help you digest your food, make vitamins and molecules that are essential to your health, and have a wide sphere of influence including maturation, metabolism and development. More recently, researchers have begun to look at the role gut bacteria plays in the body and found that this sphere may be wider than ever previously thought. Here are 3 surprising ways your gut micro-biome may be impacting you.

Immunity + Skin Health

There is growing support for the theory that gut microbes play an essential role in the immune system. Surprisingly, our intestines contain more immune cells than the rest of our whole body. And the immune function of your gut flora isn’t just important for protecting against gut infections. Healthy gut bacteria also helps defend the body against respiratory infections, while even diseases such as cardiovascular, obesity, diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease are associated with changes in our gut bacteria.

Research is even expanding into how your gut bacteria’s influence on the immune system can in turn affect your skin’s health and appearance. W Magazine recently reported on a paper published in 2014 that found an ingested form of lactobacillus paracasei improved skin sensitivity by reducing water loss from the skin’s surface — an important characteristic for radiant, even skin. “There’s convincing evidence now that bacteria in your gut interact with your immune system to produce changes in your skin,” the articles cites from New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe.

Natural Probiotics Gut Instinct

Most recently, two teams of scientists found supporting evidence on how your gut microbes may play a role in your body’s ability to fight cancer. This study of mice concluded that the bacteria in your gut can play a significant role in your body’s natural immunity to cancer, as well as its response to immunotherapy drugs.

Mood

Many of our neurochemicals, including chemicals like dopamine and serotonin that communicate and regulate our mood, originate in the intestine. Some fascinating research has come out in just the past 10 years looking at just how microbes might impact the mood. For instance, researchers in Norway studied the feces of 55 people and found certain bacteria were more likely to be found in patients diagnosed with clinical depression.

Brain Function

Closely linked with your mood, the research on the influence of your microbiome on your brain function is similarly fascinating, particularly surrounding anxiety, communication, and memory. A researcher at McMaster University, for instance, found that strains of 2 bacteria (lactobacillus and bifidobacterium) were found to reduce anxiety-like behavior in mice.

An alternate study found that probiotic bacteria (the healthy bacteria that live in the gut) can help reduce signs of anxiety and boost memory. University College Cork researchers conducted a small study of healthy men and found that a daily probiotic supplement “may help people cope with mild anxiety and memory problems.” The men involved the study were given a capsule with a strain of live bacteria Bifidobacterium Longum 1714, and were found to be “less anxious and their capacity to memorize material seemed to be enhanced,” according to Ted Dinan, the head of the study.

How to keep your gut happy

Natural Probiotics - Healthy Bacteria to Keep your Gut Happy

Probiotics are the good guys living in your gut; live bacteria that are good for your health & digestive tract. According to Lauren Schmitt, Registered Dietitian & HUM Nutritionist, “probiotics help with digestion and absorption, strengthen the immune system, improve urogenital health, improve lactose intolerance symptoms, help with side effects from antibiotics, and were recently proved to lower cholesterol. By introducing these natural probiotics into the body, the body has a stronger defense against unwanted bacteria that impairs one’s health.”

Natural probiotics can be in some foods and supplements, and can be a great way to keep your gut flora diverse, happy and healthy. This holiday season, bringing some probiotics into your routine can be a helpful way of taking care of your body.

Lauren’s 5 Ways to Add Natural Probiotics into your Holiday Meals

HUM Nutritionist Lauren Schmitt

Probiotics are live bacteria that can be ingested in supplement form or in specific foods that benefit the colon. Prebiotics are a type of dietary fiber that feed and nourish healthy bacteria that lives in the colon. Natural probiotics are found to the greatest extent in fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut. Prebiotics are found in plant foods such as berries, bananas, legumes, leafy greens, etc. In essence, the prebiotics will feed the bacteria in the colon while probiotics are actual bacteria that are added to the colon. Either way, a healthy colon is the result. Here are 5 simple ways to make sure you are getting natural probiotics and your gut is happy for the holidays.

1. Yogurt!

Replace mayonnaise or sour cream in your holiday recipes with plain Greek or regular yogurt. You will not only reduce the unhealthy fats in those meals but will give yourself a dose of probiotics. You can also make savory dips with yogurt to accompany your vegetable tray. Or, you can make a sweet yogurt dip with cinnamon for sliced apples, berries, grapes or any fruit you desire. Or, enjoy a simple cup of yogurt for a snack.

2. Fermented Fruits and Vegetables!

The fermentation process enhances the amount of probiotics in your food. Try serving fermented pickles as a snack or even fermented cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving. Make sure you buy or prepare naturally fermented foods that don’t use vinegar in the process. For pickles, all you need it a sea salt and water solution. For the cranberries, you may need to start 2 days in advance of Thanksgiving to allow time for fermentation but the wait is worth it.

3. Gouda!

Soft cheeses are also known for their probiotic content. We know the holidays are a time for appetizers so choose gouda cheese to serve with whole grain crackers and vegetables.

4. Kombucha!

It is wise to start your day with kombucha which is a fermented tea with a high amount of these healthy bacteria. You can purchase it in many grocery stores or you can make it yourself.

5. Microalgae!

This may seem frightening at first but many people are addicted to their green smoothies. Microalgae, such as spirulina, can be added to your smoothie to enhance the nutrient value. Enjoy a smoothie for breakfast or as a snack during the holiday season.


Natural Probiotics Gut Instinct

Meet HUM’s potent, 25 billion micro-organism packed 10 strain probiotic. With gut-friendly goodies like Lactobacillus Acidophillus and Bifidobacterium Longum, Gut Instinct was formulated with natural probiotics to fortify your skin, your immune system, and your digestive tract to keep you looking and feeling your best.

Julie is HUM's Community Manager. She is a vivid health enthusiast with a passion for beauty, wellness & nutrition.
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