Gut health has made major headlines over recent years, and for good reason. A healthy gut is said to boost our immune system, help us maintain a healthy weight and even improve our mood. Plus, there are the obvious benefits of reduced bloating and a smoother digestive process. Sound appealing? We ask the experts what it really takes to keep our guts happy.
YOUR MICROBIOME MATTERS
‘Bacteria exist in and around our body and are referred to as the microbiome. The diversity of bacteria in it is personal to each individual and most reside in the gut, forming a defensive barrier against foreign invaders harmful to health,’ explains nutritionist Rob Hobson.
‘Taking a daily probiotic supplement is a good way to maintain beneficial bacteria in your gut, as is eating a range of healthy, unprocessed foods.’
PROBIOTICS AND PREBIOTICS: PARTNERS IN GUT HEALTH
Probiotics – often dubbed ‘good’ or ‘beneficial’ bacteria – are live bacteria and yeasts, strains of which have been shown to have a number of benefits.
As well as helping to maintain good digestion, research has shown that probiotics can help with diarrhoea and constipation, as well as having a positive impact on conditions that can affect the digestive system such as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance.
‘Beneficial bacteria also help to synthesise (ie supply to the body) vitamins B1, B12, D and folic acid,’ adds Rob. ‘Research also suggests that probiotics help support the immune system and, in the future, may even help with mental health issues and obesity.’
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