Bacteria in your gut might sound like a bad thing but, actually, your gut uses bacteria to process food into energy. We call these helpful bacteria probiotics. Most people have heard the term in yogurt ads, but that’s about it. What are probiotics and what do they mean to your body?
It all starts in your gut, the system in your body responsible for digestion. Proper digestion is essential to your health and probiotics are essential to your gut. When bacteria are out of balance, it can cause problems such as:
- Gas 
- Bloating 
- Diarrhea 
- Abdominal pain and cramping 
- Autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and diabetes
- Neuromuscular diseases
- B12 deficiency
If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to get your gut health back on track. Here are five awesome tips for promoting your gut health and well-being.
1. Take a Quality Probiotic
In 1907, Nobel Laureate, Elie Metchnikoff introduced the concept of probiotics. He published a groundbreaking study that linked longevity with consuming fermented milk that contained Lactobacilli, a bacterial strain that produces lactic acid and helps maintain healthy intestinal microflora. Today, probiotics supplements are available at health food, grocery, and online stores. When choosing a probiotic, look for these qualities:
- Probiotic supplements should contain 5 to 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units).
- Encapsulated pills are better than liquids because they help the bacteria survive the acidic stomach environment.
- Multiple strains of bacteria (different strains offer different benefits — some help with digestion of fiber, some help with vitamin absorption, some help promote bowel regularity).
FloraTrex™ is the probiotic I recommend. It’s a blend of 50 billion live and active cultures from 18 probiotic strains. The formula contains prebiotics for extra support and every bottle offers 60 vegan capsules.
2. Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill bacteria. Although that includes the bad bacteria that can make you sick, it also includes the good bacteria your body needs. This disruption of intestinal harmony can cause a lack of diversity among bacteria that’s sure to affect your health.
3. Incorporate Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Fermented foods can introduce good bacteria to your gut but know that it’s better to make your own. Store-bought options are usually pasteurized, which kills good bacteria. Some of the best fermented foods for promoting gut health include:
- Fermented Tofu
4. Eat Less Refined Sugar
5. Lower Your Stress Levels
Much like the spinal cord, neurons cover your intestinal wall where they send information throughout your body. The existence of the brain/gut connection makes it clear that stress can be linked to gut health. When stressed, your brain sends messages to your gut in the form of chemicals. These chemicals affect how well your gut works.
5 Tactics to Reduce Stress and Support Gut Health
It’s amazing how much better you can feel about things if you just take some time to stop, breathe, and concentrate. If you need to use a mantra, go for it!
Aromatherapy harnesses the power of plant-sourced essential oils. Many people attest that this ancient, traditional practice helps them manage stress.
Physical activity affects stress and mood. If you’re feeling stressed, being active can help you overcome it!
What you eat can have a significant impact on your gut health. Stress-relieving foods can help.
Laughter can relieve stress by producing endorphins and lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Find a funny friend or turn on a comedy to produce a relieving chuckle. Your gut will thank you!
What do you do to maintain a healthy gut? Have any stress-relieving tips? Let us know in the comments.
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Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM has studied natural healing methods for over 20 years and now teaches individuals and practitioners all around the world. He no longer sees patients but solely concentrates on spreading the word of health and wellness to the global community. Under his leadership, Global Healing Center, Inc. has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.