The bacteria in your gut can be one of your strongest allies in getting healthy…or it can be one of your worst enemies. Most people don’t realize it, but what they eat and how they live are changing the makeup of their gut bacteria.
Exciting new studies are coming out every day exploring the connection between gut bacteria and practically every other aspect of human health. The conclusion is clear: if you can change your gut, you can change your life.
But how do you know when something’s wrong with your gut bacteria in the first place? And more importantly, what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.
Not All Gut Bacteria Are Created Equal
Gut bacteria, which number more than 100 trillion cells, have more of an impact on our health than medical experts previously realized. But not all gut bacteria are created equal. Among other things, “good” gut bacteria improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and manufacture the vitamins your body needs. On the other hand, “bad” gut bacteria can cause digestion nightmares, mental problems, skin conditions, and all kinds of other problems you’ll learn about in just a second.
A healthy gut isn’t made by trying to rid your body of gut bacteria altogether. It’s made by balancing the bacteria—limiting the bad guys and encouraging the good guys to grow. So let’s start at the beginning: how to figure out if your gut bacteria is unbalanced.
Are Your Gut Bacteria Imbalanced?
How can you know if your gut bacteria are out of whack? It isn’t quite as easy as finding out if you have a fever. You can’t just take your gut bacteria’s temperature with a thermometer you bought over the counter. But there are common warning signs that something might be wrong. Keep an eye on them, and you’ll put yourself in the best position to get healthy.
Here’s what to watch out for:
Sign 1. Digestive Issues
When you think of the potential consequences of unhealthy gut bacteria, digestive problems are probably the first things that come to mind. Many doctors will prescribe drugs like Prevacid or generic antacids to help people struggling with these issues, but those medications only address surface level symptoms. They don’t get to the root cause of the problem, which is unhealthy gut bacteria. If you’re dealing with any of the following, you might have an unhealthy gut:
- Heartburn/acid reflux
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Disease (including Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis)
Sign 2: Mental Issues
Did you know the health of your gut could affect the health of your brain? It’s true. Scientists have already discovered that gut bacteria produce neurotransmitters. Now, they’re focused on another trend: people with certain mental disorders also tend to have disturbances to their gut bacteria.
If you have any of these mental issues, your gut bacteria might be to blame:
Sign 3. Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies
A healthy gut also plays an important role when it comes to helping your body produce and synthesize vitamins and minerals. When your gut bacteria is out of whack, your body has a harder time getting enough of the following essential vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin B12 and B7
If you’re deficient in any of the above (you can find out by getting a simple physical from your doctor), you might have an unhealthy gut.
Sign 4: Antibiotics
Used correctly, antibiotics are one of the greatest innovations of modern medicine, but using them incorrectly can create gut issues. The food industry uses them indiscriminately on factory-farmed animals. Some doctors even use them on viral infections (which is useless). Antibiotics wipe out bad bacteria, but they also wipe out many of the good bacteria in the gut that are essential for your health. Research also suggests that good bacteria wiped out by antibiotics don’t replace themselves unless you intervene.
Sign 5: Chronic, Unmanaged Stress
Stress can wear you down, make you anxious, and increase your blood pressure…and it can also wreak havoc on your gut! Stress is inevitable, no matter how hard we try to avoid it. That isn’t an issue — until you let it go on for too long without managing it. Unmanaged stress raises cortisol levels, which can stop the gut from working properly. If you’ve been stressed for the past few months (or years, or decades) but haven’t acted to manage your stress, you’re more likely to have an unhealthy gut.
Sign 6: Skin Conditions
There’s been a lot of confusion about skin conditions over the years. Much of it comes from the common (but misguided) idea that the symptoms of a condition must appear in the same spot as the condition itself. For many skin conditions, the problem isn’t with the skin itself. It’s with an unhealthy gut. If you have any of these skin conditions, it could be due to unbalanced gut bacteria:
Sign 7: Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases can be difficult to manage because the body is literally attacking itself. It can be even tougher to spot the source of the problem and address it there. But more research is emerging linking autoimmune diseases to unhealthy guts. If you’re dealing with any of the following, you just might be able to make your symptoms disappear by taking care of your gut:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Inflammatory bowel disease
How to Balance Your Gut Bacteria in 4 Simple Steps
If any of the warning signs above look familiar to you, there’s good news! You can take action to improve the health of your gut. Doing so can prevent new medical conditions from arising and even reverse conditions that have bothered you for years.
Ready to get started today? Here’s how to balance your gut bacteria in four simple steps:
Step 1. Avoid Toxins
If you wanted to put out a fire, adding gasoline would be worst thing you could do! Unfortunately, that’s exactly what a lot of people with unhealthy guts are doing. They’re continuing to eat and live in a way that kills good bacteria, encourages bad bacteria to grow, and breaks down the integrity of their gut lining. Most of them don’t even realize they’re doing it.
The first step to reversing this trend is to avoid toxic foods. These include:
- Conventional Grain Fed Dairy
- Sugars (check out 12 Painless Ways to Cut Sugar Out of Your Diet)
- Unhealthy oils
If you’re already following a Paleo lifestyle, you’ve pretty much taken care of this step. Stick to a diet focused on vegetables, animal protein, and fruits, and you’ll create a gut environment that’s friendly for good bacteria and unfriendly for bad bacteria.
It’s also a good idea to avoid other modern toxins. Watch out for:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Advil and Ibuprofen
- Antibiotics (as much as possible)
Step 2. Eat Fermented Foods
Avoiding toxic foods and environmental toxins is a great start, but not quite enough for optimal health. It’s time to get proactive about encouraging good gut bacteria to flourish. One of the best ways is to eat more fermented foods. These foods, commonplace in our ancestors’ diets, are full of good gut bacteria.
Great fermented foods include:
Going from eating no sauerkraut to say… two or three bowls a day might sound like a good idea. But resist the temptation! Adding too many fermented foods too quickly can create some nasty side effects. Start small—a teaspoon or two a day and work your way up to give your gut time to adjust.
Step 3. Take Probiotic Supplements
In addition to eating fermented foods (a great natural source of good gut bacteria), you can restore your gut health faster by taking a daily probiotic supplement. Our ancestors were a lot less concerned with hygiene than we are. This actually helped them pick up plenty of good gut bacteria along with the soil and other dirty things they encountered. You can use probiotic supplements to “make up” for that lost good bacteria. No eating dirt needed!
There’s a wide range of probiotic supplements available. And just like with gut bacteria, some are better than others. Dr. Tim Gerstmar laid down some excellent guidelines on which supplements to focus on:
- Stay away from “bargain bin” prices. You get what you pay for.
- Two reputable brands are Jarrow and Klaire Labs.
- Make sure they’re potent. Dr. Gerstmar recommends at least 8 billion/dose.
- Look for supplements that contain strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.
Step 4. Manage Your Stress
One of the most powerful things you can do to improve your gut health (besides changing your diet) is to make “stress management” a priority. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method to do this. The key is to pick something you enjoy and stick with it. Making time to manage your stress — whether you feel stressed or not — will reduce inflammation, lower cortisol levels, and improve your gut health.
And make sure to get enough sleep! A sleep deficit raises cortisol levels (and harms the gut) just like any other type of stress. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night.
Change Your Gut, Change Your Life
More science is emerging every day connecting issues with the gut to issues throughout the body and mind. That’s good news for you! With knowledge and smart action, you can quite literally heal yourself from the inside out. The recipe for a healthy gut is simple. Avoid toxic foods and substances, add in some fermented foods and probiotics, and make managing your stress a priority. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Changing your gut just might be the first step to changing your life.
A quick note from our founder-
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d) Hip Flexors
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
However I promise what you'll discover today will be completely worth it.
Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
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In April, 2009, researchers stunned the medical community when they reported chronic inflammation as the root cause of several major diseases.
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
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Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.