The beneficial bacteria found in your gut is fundamental to overall health. Not surprisingly, diet plays an important role in maintaining a healthy gut environment. However, new research has found that exercise can also increase the amount and diversity of gut bacteria, which has immune boosting effects. Eating a diet that contains mainly organic, whole foods and fermented foods is key. Processed foods, medications, lack of exercise, and factors beyond our control deplete the good intestinal flora.
Cultured or fermented foods contain high amounts of healthy probiotics and enzymes, which improve nutrient absorption. While consuming traditionally fermented foods in our diets (such as sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, coconut kefir, kombucha, and kimchee) is the best way to promote optimal gut health, it may not be something we choose to do on a regular basis. If this is the case, it’s important to take a high-quality probiotic supplement consistently.
Remember, too, that chemicals used in agriculture not only destroy beneficial microbes in the soil where our foods are grown, but also in our bodies. In general, avoid the culprits that kill off the good bacteria, such as antibiotics (it’s important to note that many of our store-bought meats and dairy products contain antibiotics), chlorinated water, antibacterial soap, and pollution.
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