Gut Health for Young Guts: Tips to Strengthen the Microbiome
September 14, 2018
Whether you’re 13 or 19, yearly doctor check-ups during adolescent years give you enough to worry about — standing on a scale surrounded by people, dealing with skin issues, concerns about mental and behavioral health and more.
Older folks think that you’re too hung up on texting and Instagram Stories, but there’s a lot more going on — like the impending doom of figuring out who you are and your life’s purpose, especially in this current climate.
Due to all this stress, a doctor’s advice can go in one ear and out the other. It’s okay – we don’t blame you. It seems like a lot of the time is spent on issues that don’t matter right now and you assume you can take care of it later on.
But, that’s not always the case. Taking small preventative measures now can do wonders for your body later, possibly avoiding major complications! Yes, it sounds boring and maybe even too challenging. But future-you will be thankful.
What’s one easy aspect of general health to start with? Gut health!
Why Should I Worry About Gut Health?
Look, we understand. You have enough things on your plate to worry about. But please, hear us out!
In recent years, science is slowly unraveling the mystery of the microbiome, which is just smart-speak for your gut. As it turns out, a lot of our body systems are connected. The microbiome’s health helps establish the health of the rest of our body. That’s why its sometimes referred to as the second brain.
Gut health is at least partially determined by the bacteria that lay within. Bacteria has a little bit of a bad rep. Sometimes it can be a good thing. The good can help manage your digestive system. Some may even help support your immune system.
But the bad can be detrimental. So, you want to make sure they you have a good balance.
What Can Happen?
An imbalance can affect the rest of the body. For example, the gut microbiome has been connected to mood and emotion. This is pretty obvious. You can definitely remember a time you were “hangry” until you finally got your hands on some food. And that’s only one way that your gut affects mood.
Another popular theory about bacteria is that it can communicate with the brain, affecting neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters are brain cells that have many functions, including mood regulation. So, bad bacteria could have its hand in mood regulation, which may result in stress, exhaustion and feeling down.
Currently, researchers are also investigating the microbiome’s relationship with heart health and even specific diseases.
Sources of Bad Bacteria
You might be wondering just how does bad bacteria make its way into the body? It’s actually pretty normal.
Healthline outlines a few different ways. Here are some of the most common:
Antibiotic Use – Antibiotics are medicines that help treat illnesses. Talking a look at the word, you can determine just how they do that – they kill bacteria. That’s good to help you feel better, BUT in the process, that can actually kill the good bacteria too. By doing that, you are more at risk for bad bacteria to come back.
Stress – Stress is actually a funny source, because it can also be a symptom. Stress can increase sensitivity of the gut, making it more vulnerable. But, gut bacteria can also tax the body, causing stress. It’s an imperfect marriage!
Food – It is believed that certain foods and drinks can harm the micriobiome, especially undercooked meats, chicken and fish. Not to mention overly processed foods or GMO foods that can carry gut-harming additives.
What Can I Do?
You don’t have to go out of your way to help strengthen gut health. One method you might have heard about is probiotics. That can seem a little scary, especially if you’re not used to taking pills daily. They could help add good bacteria to your stomach.
But if you don’t like to pills, don’t worry. Here are other ways to help:
Enjoy some delicious yogurt – Yogurt contains natural occurring probiotics, so you can enjoy a carton while also helping your gut.
Work in some kimchi, apple cider vinegar or some kombucha – Fermented foods, such as those in this list, naturally contain probiotics, so adding these to your diet can be helpful. Find your flavor!
Sip on a probiotic drink – If pills aren’t your thing, probiotics are also offered in drink form. But be careful, most require refrigeration.
Get OUT – Not to sound like a parent when you do something wrong, but you need to get out…in a good way, of course. It is believed that being outside exposes you to bacteria that can help keep your microbiome healthy.
Eat mostly whole foods – A perfect way of eating may seem impossible, but as long as your are conscious of the foods you eat and opt for plant-based, whole foods more often than not, than you’re in a good place!
Take a dailyhappy gut buddy – We know it’s really hard to completely eliminate all overly-processed foods and GMOs from your diet. Which is why we love our Biome Medic, that has been Gold Seal-certified by the Detox Project for flushing the gut of harmful toxins.
Drink lots ofWater – The best, most natural way to flush and hydrate your body.
BONUS TIP: You may want to stay away from antibiotics, but hey, sometimes you might need them. Just don’t go crazy and only use if directed by a medical professional.
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