The benefits of good gut health

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately about the importance of good gut health. I also had a fascinating conversation with my sister-in-laws’ father, who is a pharmacist, about healthy guts and the knock on effect of a gut that’s a bit ‘out of sorts’.

Healing your gut allows the body to build a stronger immune system and produce the right kind of bacteria that tells your brain that it’s okay to feel good again. The health of your gastrointestinal system is extremely important to your overall well-being.

Why Healing Your Gut Can Change Your Life

Life throws daily challenges our way, both big and small. We have to navigate our way through all of these, be it work, health, family, relationships, finances. In addressing all of these issues, it’s possible for us to neglect one of the most important factors associated with well-being and happiness – our microbiome!

In case you don’t know what that is, it’s basically the living ecosystem of bacteria living in and on our bodies. It’s thought that a thriving microbiome which is teamed with beneficial bacteria is one of the keys to a healthy and balanced life.

Your gut health is about way more than just digestion

The ‘friendly flora’ that live in your gut, in your mouth, on your skin, and in various other niches throughout your body can put you on the fast track to your most productive, accomplished, and satisfied life ever. Intrigued? The probiotics in your microbiome make you unstoppable from head to toe in the following ways:

1. Supporting a healthy immune system

A massive 80 percent of your immune system is situated in your gut, right where the bulk of your beneficial bacteria—probiotics—also live. Interestingly, their choice of home isn’t coincidental; these mighty microbes are key players in your immune development and function.

By protecting your gut barrier, crowding out and killing harmful bacteria, and teaching your immune system how to respond to various stimuli, the good bacteria in your gut work hard to make sure your immune function is in its ideal shape.

2. Giving you a natural energy boost

There’s no doubt that to be able to consistently work toward your professional and personal life goals, you need to have a decent amount of energy. However, with jam-packed schedules (our own and the rest of the family), endless deadlines, and little time to relax in today’s on-the-go culture, many people rely on caffeine and energy drinks to stay ahead of the game. Are you one of them?

Fortunately, your good gut bacteria can help you maintain your day-to-day energy levels naturally, without chemicals and synthetic boosters that inevitably lead to an energy crash and burn.

3. Helping you find (and maintain) your ideal weight

If you’re above the age of 13, chances are you’ve struggled with your weight at some point in your life. Maybe you’re underweight and strive to put on a few pounds, or perhaps you feel like you’re always trying to lose that weight from 20 years ago! Either way, not being at your ideal weight (which is different for each and every person) can affect your energy levels, your mood, your hormones, your cognitive function, and even your immunity. So many people feel like this, myself included – are you one of them?

Friendly flora support your metabolism and a healthy weight by producing enzymes that help you digest food and absorb nutrients – so you don’t overeat and aren’t malnourished. They also regulate your blood sugar levels.

4. Sharpening your focus

Do you feel like you are in a constant brain fog? Or even just lacking in clarity? What could this possibly have to do with your gut anyway?

The probiotics in your gut communicate with your brain via the vagus nerve, which runs from your head all the way into your abdomen. The good news is that a lot of this communication flows up—beneficial bacteria send mind-boosting chemicals and messages to the brain that improve your memory and cognitive function.

A gut that isn’t fortified by billions of probiotics can get out of balance and overrun with yeast and bad bacteria, which produce chemicals and by-products that are directly toxic to the brain—leading to brain fog and memory problems that affect every aspect of your professional and personal life.

5. Boosting your mood and enhancing your well-being

The brain benefits of a healthy gut don’t stop at improving memory and focus; one of the most important (and probably overlooked) benefits of a healthy microbiome is a balanced mood. So many of us spend our days and nights running from activity to activity (hands up), moving from task to task, neglecting to take the time to unplug and recharge (hands up again). The result? Burnout, which can quickly lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and a host of other health issues that can derail a productive, happy, joy-filled life.

6. Supporting a glowing complexion

When your gut is able to both absorb nutrients—thanks to your friendly bacteria—and get rid of toxins and chemicals, your whole body is better for it, and your skin is no exception. On the other hand, when you’re lacking the numbers of good microbes in your gut that you need to effectively keep your digestion moving along, one of the first places issues will materialize is on your skin.

Fungus, yeast, and bad bacteria can all start to take over an unbalanced microbiome, leading to chronic, systemwide inflammation and showing up as acne, redness, irritation, dry patches, fine lines, and even premature aging—leaving you wanting to hide your face in a corner rather than charge forward with confidence.

7. Giving you a radiant smile

Did you know that your mouth has a microbiome as well? It certainly does, and the beneficial bacteria that take up residence in your oral cavity are not only your immune system’s first line of defense, but they have enormous effects on the health of your teeth, gums, and even your breath.

Harmful bacteria are often at the root (Pun intended!) of cavities, gum disease, and other dental issues that can affect one of your most beautiful assets: your smile.

What are the options?

Once you’ve decided that you need to make a committment to improving the health of your gut, where do you start?

If you want to get started on improving the health of your gut right away without too much thought pop some Actimel in your shopping trolley next time you shop. They contains large amounts of a unique strain of a well-researched probiotic and are suitable for anyone over the age of three.

They come in lots of yummy flavours, are easy to have on the go, with breakfast or even pop them in a lunchbox! They are also often on offer in supermarkets, making them quite good value too. There’s also no added sugar, so no need to be concerned about that.

If you have got everyone into Actimel and you are ready to consider something else, have a look at the OptiBac range of products, or Bioglan. They have products suitable for all members of the family, depending on your needs.

I really rate both of these brands , and we use them both. It will largely depend on the needs of your family and what you are able to get into everyone the most easily.

OptiBac ‘For daily immunity’

  • Daily-use supplement containing 5 billion live cultures per capsule, guaranteed until the date of expiry
  • Vitamin C helps to support a healthy immune system and your body’s resistance to infection
  • No refrigeration required, contrary to some other good bacteria supplements
  • Contains the extremely well-researched strain L. paracasei CASEI 431®, clinically trialled in thousands of people and proven to survive to reach the gut alive
  • Suitable during pregnancy, for infants (1 yr +), breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, vegans and vegetarians, and certified gluten free for those with coeliac disease or an intolerance
  • Take one capsule per day, or as professionally directed

OptiBac ‘For daily immunity’ has been created especially for those looking for natural immune support. This supplement is researched and proven to survive through stomach acidity and reach the gut alive. Moreover, this supplement is safe during pregnancy and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Available in one pack size of 30 capsules of live cultures. Each capsule provides a count of over 5 billion natural bacteria with 80mg of vitamin C. These are a great option for the growm ups I find, for the children we tend to use the OptiBac sachets.

With regards to Bioglan, the children said to me the first time I gave them to them “are you sure it’s a vitamin mummy?” – basically the little chocolate balls, are a tasty way to include live bacteria in your children’s diet every day.

Wrapped in velvety milk chocolate, each ChocBall contains 2 high quality live strains of bacteria plus a great source of fibre – Lactobacillus & Bifodobacterium plus Inulin. These are super easy to introduce and totally hassle free – also no refridgeration is required. That’s the other reason I like both OptiBac and Bioglan!

We refer to these little beauties as “chocolate vitamins” and they certainly do the job. I’ve noticed a real reduction in the eczema of one of the children since we introduced probiotics and these make life very easy. The ChocBalls are suitable for chidlren from 4 years plus.

Not to leave the grown ups out, you too can have a ChocBall every day.
Wrapped in velvety dark chocolate, each ChocBall contains 2 high quality live strains of bacteria plus a great source of fibre, and of course, the same fridge-free technology.

If these aren’t your thing, you can try the other products in the range, such as the Bioglan Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora contains 20 Billion live good bacteria across 4 scientifically studied strains.

Are you looking after your gut health?


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