Since our gut health is crucial for our overall health, it would be best to avoid whatever it is that can hamper the growth of our good bacteria. If gut bacteria has been altered or is out of balance, imagine what effects it will cause to your body when it is unable to function properly.
Just as there are things that we consume that can aid the growth of the good microorganisms in our body, there are also things that can hamper the balance and growth of good bacteria in our microbiome. These are:
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics can alter your microbiota and the effects can be long term if not remedied. It does not discriminate between bad bacteria that are wreaking havoc in your body or good bacteria that belong in your gut and inevitably wipes out both from your system. Therefore, avoid self-medicating or unnecessary medication if possible.
- Sugar. It is well known that sugar can cause diabetes and obesity, but did you know that sugar also negatively affects your gut microbiome? Consuming high amounts of sugar (including artificial sweeteners) is seen to increase the number of bad bacteria in the gut that is associated with gut and brain inflammation as well as liver disease. It also affects your cognitive ability.
- Preservatives. Any artificial or synthetic food additive alters the intestinal mucous. Since it alters your gut microbiota, it also causes inflammation. These can cause weight gain, increased appetite, increased fat mass, and metabolic syndrome. It also puts you at risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
The key to having a healthy gut is knowing and controlling the food that goes into your body. Try choosing more fresh food sources and fewer preservatives. Make an effort to know what goes into your meals and how it is cooked. When faced with difficult food choices, try to ask yourself: is this good for my gut?
Guarner, F. et al. (2017, February). World Gastroenterology Organisation Global Guidelines: Probiotics and prebiotics.
Torgan, C. (2015, March 16). Food Additives Alter Gut Microbes, Cause Diseases in Mice.
Cox, L.M. and Blaser, M.J. (2015, March 11). Antibiotics in early life and obesity.
Nami, Y. et al. (2015, February 1). Probiotics or antibiotics: future challenges in medicine.
Clemente, J.C. et al. (2012, March 16). The Impact of the Gut Microbiota on Human Health: An Integrative View.