Gut Bacteria: Here's What You Need To Know
Gut bacteria, also known as microbiota is completely normal and healthy for the gut. However, there are exceptions you need to know about.
There are both, good and bad kinds of gut bacteria
Gut bacteria as the name suggests, are bacterias that live inside our guts. Our guts contain about 300 to 500 varieties of bacteria that might contain about 2 million genes. Along with these bacteria, our gut is also home to various other micro-beings such as fungi and viruses. The collection of these is called microbiota. Microbiota being a mix of all these microorganisms, is as intricate and unique as one's fingerprints. Our microbiota is based on 2 main factors, our mother's microbiota (as it is exposed to us during birth) and our lifestyle and what we eat.
Although the existence of microbiota in our gut might seem threatening, they are completely normal. In fact, microbiota helps us digest food as well as help us extract nutrients from our food. Here are some of the benefits of microbiota:
- Boosts immunity
- Preventing harmful bacteria from entering the body
- Helping us digest foods that are difficult to cut down, through fermentation
- Synthesising vitamin K, biotin, and folate in the gut
- Some gut bacterias help reduce the pH levels in the gut that helps combat the growth of harmful bacteria such as ammonia
- Help in the absorption of various nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, etc.
However, some gut bacteria can be harmful to the gut and the body altogether. Here are some causes that might promote the growth of bad gut bacteria in our bodies:
- Poor diet, eating unhealthy or irregularly
- Excessive use of antibiotics
- Unhealthy lifestyle (smoking, drinking, etc.)
In case the gut bacteria get harmful, it may give rise to various diseases in the body such as ulcerative disorder, Crohn's disease, various heart diseases, arthritis, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, etc. It may even cause mental disorders such as depression, autism, anxiety, etc.
Here's how you can avoid developing bacteria that might increase your risks of developing these diseases:
Eating healthy: Nothing influences our gut more than what we eat. Eating a healthy balanced diet not only reduces the risk of various chronic diseases but also helps maintain a civil relationship between the host and the gut bacteria. Eating a diet that has ample vitamins, proteins, fibre, calcium, and other nutrients can help better your gut and gut bacteria. As discussed above, gut bacteria help you absorb nutrients from all nutrient-rich foods.
Eat fermented foods and probiotics: Fermented foods and probiotics provide your body with even more healthy bacteria. These probiotics further boost your gut's capacity to absorb nutrients. These foods have proven to also better digestion and are considered very good for the gut. In addition to this, these healthy bacteria also help fight the bad bacteria in the gut.
Exercise: Working out regularly also helps maintain a healthy gut and microbiota. Exercising regularly can boost the growth of a variety of gut bacteria. Having a huge variety of healthy gut bacteria can help better your health, hence, reducing the risks of developing diseases.
Eat fibre: Whole grain foods, numerous fruits and vegetables are all high in fibre. Fibre helps better our digestion and also boosts the growth of various healthy bacteria in our gut. Some easily available foods rich in fibre are broccoli, apple, watermelon, wheat (bread), rye, barley, beans, dried fruits, etc.
Hence, you must stay mindful of what you eat and how you treat your body. A healthy gut means a healthy body. Eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising well are key to maintaining good health.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.
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