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Health & Wellness

Healthy Bacteria: Keeping Your Gut Healthy

Believe it or not, gut bacteria play vital roles in keeping your body functioning and you feeling in tip-top shape.

Bacteria are the secret to a healthy digestive system. Though we often think of bacteria as causing disease, there are healthy bacteria that are essential to keeping our body healthy. You do need to encourage these healthy bacteria to thrive as they are a key to your digestive health. To maintain a healthy digestive system, consider the following:

Include nutritious, fibrous plants in your diet.  Plant-based foods provide necessary fiber for your diet. Foods that are high in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates feed bad bacteria.

Probiotics. Eat foods that contain good bacteria. Pickled foods such as sauerkraut, pickled vegetables, kombucha tea, kefir (drinking yogurt), miso (fermented soybean) and plain yogurt help good bacteria to thrive.

Prebiotics. These are foods that can be broken down by good bacteria but cannot be digested. Foods such as bananas, raspberries, garlic, oats, beans, onions, and asparagus contain prebiotics that feed the good bacteria.

Work in your yard. Spending time in nature, especially when you garden will expose you to bacteria that you otherwise would not be exposed to. Spending time in nature also helps to alleviate stress and provides exercise that will also aid in digestion.

Beware of using antibiotics too freely. They may kill bad bacteria but can also kill the good ones. In the same vein, you should be cautious of too much antibacterial cleaning in your home and on your body. You do need exposure to a wide variety of bacteria to build a healthy immune system.