Bacteria is a scary word. It automatically conjures thoughts about poor health, illness, and keeping things sanitized. But not all bacteria is bad. In fact, microbiomes and other good bacteria are essential in keeping the digestive system running smoothly.
While it is true that bad bacteria can cause heartburn, constipation, weight gain and stomach pains, friendly bacteria can have the opposite effect. They work to help the metabolism and ensure the bloodstream is absorbing all the necessary nutrients. This bacteria can also protect the stomach from the negative ones.
So how does one ensure that their stomach is filled with the good bacteria? Health experts warn that taking antibiotics will (as the name suggests) kill off all the bacteria and not be beneficial for aiding digestion. Instead, they recommend probiotics to cultivate the right type of bacteria. And rather than taking dietary supplements, it is a better idea to eat foods that contain probiotics. The best choice? Yogurt, which contains probiotics but also fosters an environment where the bad bacteria cannot survive.
To continue to ensure your body is getting the right bacteria, avoiding fatty foods and increasing your intake of nondigestible carbohydrates (containing prebiotics) will help decrease the risk of irritable bowel system, decrease fat storage, and rebuild rather than destroy the lining of the stomach. Foods like whole grains, asparagus, onions and even garlic are all good options.
Stress can often be found at the root of many medical problems, and it is no different in the case of bacteria. Excessive stress is able to alter the immune system and change the type of bacteria in the stomach. It can suppress the beneficial bacteria and allow the bad bacteria to surge in numbers and take over. Therefore, managing stress is an important step in regulating stomach bacteria.
The stomach houses around 80% of the immune cells in the human body. Bacteria in the stomach affects and controls how these cells function, and keeping it healthy is essential for overall health. Understanding the different types of bacteria that exist in the stomach, and learning how to promote the good and banish the bad, can help reduce digestive problems and keep the metabolism going strong.