November 14, 2019

Probiotics and gut health: everything you need to know

When you take probiotics, it is like planting a seed of good bacteria in your gut. It helps to fight off bad bacteria, balance your gut flora, and boosts your digestive system.

With Christmas soon approaching it's really important to get your gut health in check. With all the parties and organised nights out, take away food and irregular eating habits, and poor but delicious food choices that we make over the festive season, this can take it's toll on your organs working extra hard to function and do their job, specifically your liver and digestive health.

Last year I got a nasty gastrovirus infection. It was awful and for anyone that has ever experienced this, I felt your pain. My whole body shut down. I ended up in hospital and it was awful. I didn't take a probiotic after I got the virus, I just went on a veg juice programme every morning for two weeks which helped but was not enough. Months later, with my decision to change over and become vegan, I felt my body needed help with the adjustments and also with the previous illness. I was feeling more bloated and was having stomach problems.

I get a lot of questions about probiotics and prebiotics - what the difference is and I also talk about the importance of taking them every day in the salon. When I ask clients, the majority would have had issues with their digestive health at some stage of their lives.

When you take probiotics, it is like planting a seed of good bacteria in your gut.

Probiotics are live bacteria that can be found in yogurt and other fermented foods. When you take probiotics, it is like planting a seed of good bacteria in your gut, and we often loose it though busy, hectic lifestyle choices, because of stress, irregular and poor eating habits, eating too quickly, after a virus or any tummy upset, or for other health reasons. The more good bacteria you put into your body, the better it can fight off bad bacteria, balance your gut flora, and boost your digestive system.

Prebiotics are a special form of dietary fiber that acts as a fertilizer for the good bacteria in your gut.  It is like adding fertilizer to the seed and it helps to grow good bacteria in your gut.

Some probiotics already have a prebiotic in them, some do not need a prebiotic and others don't work well with a prebiotic, so it is important to ask advice to your health care professional and explain your symptoms to them as what they recommend is different for everyone.

I take Super 8 Gold Microbiotic from Udo’s Choice as an every day probiotic. I open one capsule a day and put it into coconut yogurt. After one month I really noticed the difference.

I would highly recommend for everyone to include a probiotic into their daily routine.

You can also find probiotics in the following food and drink sources:

  • Kefir - a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt. My favourite is vanilla coconut flavour from Biomel as it's not too thick and it's tasty. It's available in Marks & Spencers and probably also in your local health stores.
  • Sauerkraut -  finely cut raw cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria.
  • Kimchi - famous Asian traditional side dish of salted and fermented vegetables.
  • Kombucha - a fermented drink made from sweetened tea and a specific culture known as a scoby (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts). Do not use the fruit form if you are having IBS symptoms.

Feel free to talk to me about issues like this by coming to see me in the salon as I can recommend what has helped my clients in the past. I also get recommendations from my clients, do my research and pass on the knowledge for people to explore. Especially if you suffer from IBS issues I can help you, or recommend you to other professionals I trust.

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