If you follow me on Twitter, you will be very familiar with my regular posts and re-tweets of articles that discuss gut health, digestion and beneficial bacteria. I do this because I’m interested in bacteria (amongst other things).
I’m interested in bacteria because, while there are many factors that influence your health, the right balance of gut flora is one of the most important!
A couple of weeks ago I read this excellent article in the NY Times magazine, written by prolific journalist and ‘foodie intellectual’ Michael Pollan.
It’s a long one, so get yourself a cup of tea before you sit down to read. It’s well and truly worth the time and attention however, as the information and research Pollan discusses is fascinating. Fascinating. Well, I think so.
Take a peek.
I recently ran a workshop within a large midwifery conference, where I discussed some of the best nutritional and herbal interventions during pregnancy. One of the (many) topics covered was digestive function and gut flora.
During pregnancy, healthy bowel flora is particularly important, as it will help to regulate digestion and keep the overall immune response strong. Good bacterial balance will also support vaginal and urinary tract health, which is good to know, as recurrent UTIs are unfortunately common for many pregnant women.
Keeping your gut healthy with probiotic supplementation has also been shown to help maintain healthy blood glucose levels, which can fluctuate wildly for some women during pregnancy. Probiotics can reduce the symptoms and duration of mastitis, and have also been linked with a much lower incidence of atopic conditions e.g. eczema & asthma, in babies (once they’re on the outside).
While probiotic supplements can be very effective, a healthy diet that is rich in a wide variety of food-nutrients, and that includes adequate fibre and fluid, will also impact your body’s natural bacterial balance.
Consuming probiotic foods regularly will also help to maintain a healthy balance. These are found in the form of fermented foods*, such as yoghurt, kombucha and miso.
How’s your gut health? Are you a bacteria fan too?
* Some fermented foods may not be appropriate during pregnancy due to risk of contamination with pathogenic bacteria e.g. listeria. It is therefore important to seek advice before consuming any products that have not been prepared properly, or pose a potential health risk.