The digestive system was once thought of as one of the simplest in the body—essentially just one long tube that helped move our waste from one end to the other.
However, in recent years, greater and greater understanding of the gut and its impact on our overall health and wellbeing (not just in terms of digestion) have given us plenty to think about. We now know that increasing good gut bacteria, AKA probiotics, can make a serious difference when it comes to our immune systems, hormones, mood, quality of sleep, and skin health.
Developing and maintaining good gut bacteria can have a drastic impact on our overall health. It's safe to say, we'd do well to learn what we can about good gut bacteria and then put what we know into practice.
What are gut bacteria?
Despite the negative connotation, bacteria come in both the good and bad varieties—especially when it comes to your gut. Around 100 trillion bacteria are living inside your digestive system at any given time, making up what is called the gut microbiome. Everyone’s gut microbiome is unique, based mainly on a combination of what you inherited from your mother and your own diet and lifestyle choices. Which means that you do have some control over the type of bacteria living in your gut—yay!
How can I increase good bacteria in my gut?
Good gut bacteria, or probiotics, assists in proper digestion, especially of foods that aren’t easily broken down by the stomach and small intestine. It also helps cultivate strong immune health and even produces certain vitamins, while improving the absorption of vitamins from your diet. Increasing your good gut bacteria can literally change your life.
Gut bacteria start developing at birth and can change throughout our lives based on our environment and cultural characteristics—both of which can have a major impact on the composition of our gut microbiota. But aside from two foundational influences, we can work to increase good gut bacteria with several lifestyle choices.
- Eat a diet rich in variety and whole foods. Most people are culturally entrenched in the consumption of a very narrow diet, despite worldwide access to a rich variety of foods. Ensure that you choose diverse foods including plenty of fiber-rich grains and vegetables, in order to fuel the growth of good gut bacteria. Also try to avoid foods high in sugar and fat.
- Check for food intolerances and diet imbalances. If you often experience gut trouble like upset stomach, gas and bloating, indigestion, or irregular bowel movements, you may have a food intolerance and can look into removing common gut irritants like lactose or gluten from your diet. Introducing more fiber and water are also simple and effective ways to increase good gut bacteria.
- Introduce more good bacteria with fermented foods or supplemental probiotics. Don’t shy away from the many fermented options that have been cropping up recently—such as kefir, kimchi, kombucha, and sauerkraut—as they’re proven to increase good gut bacteria with naturally occurring probiotics. Because most people don't get enough of these foods in our diets, a prebiotic or probiotic supplement could be the simple solution to drastically improving your gut microbiome.
- Lower stress levels and get more rest. Stress and sleep both have a big impact on gut health, which can in turn have a big impact on stress levels and sleep quality. It’s a vicious cycle best nipped in the bud by putting relaxing practices in place such as meditation, yoga, journaling, and deep breathing.
What kills good bacteria in the gut?
Different life-style choices can affect your microbiome balance. Check out the list below for common ways you may be affecting your good gut bacteria.
Antibiotics are known for killing nasty bacteria but they are also killers of good gut bacteria and are often overprescribed. Ensure a round of antibiotics is absolutely necessary before taking it so you can preserve that good bacteria.
Preservatives work by killing bacteria so that a product has a longer shelf life. Surprise, surprise—they operate the same way in your system, killing off good gut bacteria.
Artificial sweeteners and other food additives
Associated with negative changes in gut bacteria leading to bowel disorders, artificial sweeteners and other common food additives are another thing to avoid in your diet. Rather switch to a diet rich with whole foods and fiber, and with small amounts of real sugar (like you’d find in fruit).
Common food irritants
Common food irritants like dairy, gluten, and even red meat can have an adverse on the gut microbiome, changing the makeup enough to cause irritation, inflammation, and even bowel disorders and diseases.
How long does it take to repopulate the gut with good bacteria?
Since every gut microbiome is unique, regrowth of good gut bacteria will vary with each individual and is based on why the bacterial population was disrupted. The most common disruption comes from a round of antibiotics and the effect can be drastic. But the good news is that the two best things you can do to increase regrowth of good gut bacteria don’t have to wait until your round of antibiotics is over.
Adjusting your diet to include a variety of gut-positive, fiber-filled fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is a great way to start repopulating your gut with good bacteria. Leafy greens, bananas, yogurt, barley, and oats are all great choices.
So how long does it take to repopulate the gut with good bacteria? There is no perfect answer, but with a combination of a healthy diet and good probiotic many people start seeing positive health benefits within several weeks.
Probiotix—Supplementing Probiotics to Simplify Gut Health
Probiotic supplements are also a great option. Probiotics are the healthy microorganisms that promote healthy gut flora and help boost digestive function and immunity. Taking a proper probiotic supplement can help balance out your gut bacteria and restore it to proper function after an upset, reducing gas and bloating.
It may seem odd that adding more bacteria, by billions at a time, to your body can actually make it function and feel better. But more often than not, probiotics do exactly that. Research shows that probiotics really do work for many people and in diverse ways. Not only can they assist with common digestive concerns, but they can improve your mood and boost immunity.
Good gut bacteria are an important part of every human’s overall health. And while the gut microbiome may be anything but simple, you can see there are several simple things you can do to start healthily cultivating yours today. A good, diverse diet of whole foods, plenty of rest and relaxation, and the addition of a probiotic could work wonders for your gut, sooner than you’d think.
Xyngular's Probiotix is a super-simple, tasty probiotic supplement that can help fill in the gaps and send your body the probiotic reinforcements needed to support your gut health. With 3 billion (with a B!) probiotic cultures, plus prebiotics, this peach-flavored powder dissolves right on your tongue—no pills to swallow or drinks to mix.
To learn more if a probiotic supplement could make a difference in your gut health, and overall wellness, talk to your Xyngular Distributor, or login to your Xyngular account and check out Probiotix today!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.