Every Thursday at 8pm Eastern #wellnesschat takes place via Twitter. The goal of #wellnesschat is to engage, encourage, educate. The first Thursday of each month Andy Bellatti is guest. And tonight Cassie joined in as co-host.

We started the chat with Andy:

Our "gut flora" encompasses 1,000s of different species of fungi, bacteria, microbes.

Some gut flora functions: digestive assistance, vitamin K synthesis, immune support, & even lowering chronic disease risk.

Do artificial sweeteners alter gut health? In this rat study; yes.

To understand magnitude of our gut flora, consider that our body contains ten times more bacterial cells than human cells.

Nature journal: "Gut microflora crucially influences structural and functional development of mucosal immune system."

One of many benefits of breast-feeding: breast milk contains some probiotic strands; great for baby's digestive health.

And then Cassie joined in: 

The old saying holds true, “Health begins in the gut.” Gut health is the most critical and often overlooked, starting point.

Does it surprise you that probiotics aren’t just for those with digestive issues? Gut health DIRECTLY ties to metabolism!

Modifying gut bacteria plays a significant role in combating obesity. We do too many things that kill our good bacteria.

Antibiotics, sugar, artificial sweeteners, trans fats, preservatives, pesticides—All of these have killed your good bacteria.

If weight loss is a goal of yours, it’s VITAL that you start by HEALING your gut—The gut determines how well metabolism works.

When you're low in serotonin, you tend to crave carbohydrates (especially refined ones!) THESE carbs KILL good gut bacteria.

You can see how gut health clearly relates to metabolism! Producing essential brain chemicals needed for good decision making!

Back to Andy:

We've established that a healthy gut is key for overall health. Let's talk about foods that are important for a healthy gut.

Definition time! Probiotics are living microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, etc.) that provide health benefits to host (humans).

These foods offer probiotics(some) yogurts, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, natto, apple cider vinegar. [SS note: make sure these foods don't contain additives, preservatives, toxins.]

FYI: Fermented foods are not the same as pickled foods. Most pickled foods do not contain probiotics.

A crucial part of this puzzle is *pre*biotics (this is food for gut flora). Gut flora need to be well-fed to work well.

Some prebiotics: oats, kidney beans, pears (high in soluble fiber). Also: onions, garlic (high in fructooligosaccharides).

When fed correctly, gut bacteria produce, among others, an important short chain fatty acid called butyric acid.

Higher levels of butyric acid help protect against bowel inflammation and IBS, also strengthen immune system.

Butyric acid has also been shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer. Healthy diet = healthy gut flora = healthy colon

Cool factoid: Butyric acid acidifies GI environment, makes it more difficult for foodborne pathogens to thrive.

All beans good; kidney have highest amount of soluble fiber.

When it comes to probiotic-rich foods: daily intake & high amount of colonies are key. Sometimes probiotic supplement is best.

FYI: Of the hundreds of thousands of probiotic strains, we only have well-documented scientific data on a small handful.

When it comes to probiotic-rich foods: daily intake & high amount of colonies are key. Sometimes probiotic supplement is best.

Research still determining which probiotic strands survive digestive process intact. Most studied: Acidophilus, Bifidus.

Colonies = amount of bacteria. The higher, the better.

And back to Cassie:

Diets high in sugar (and carbohydrates) decrease the amount of bifidobacteria in the gut (good bacteria that you want & need!)

The SAD (Standard American Diet) is high in carbohydrates (which break down to sugar in the blood stream) & unhealthy fats...

Eating high sugar=low in good gut bacteria (essential 4 overall health by promoting proper digestion,absorption & elimination)

When we are low in brain chemicals, we tend to crave more sugar—That's because sugar has the same addictive effect as cocaine!

The Cycle: Eating sugar causes U to crave more sugar—the more u eat=the less brain chemicals are made—causing you to crave sugar.

Nearly every chemical that controls the brain is also located in the stomach region (several hormones & neurotransmitters.)

The connection between stress and the gut may be the most visible brain-gut connection.

Chronic stress can result in ulcers, indigestion and a host of other uncomfortable symptoms. Start healing with gut health

When your gut is in balance, your brain is in balance. If gut health is out of whack, your brain health & emotions may be too.

Afterthought: Anyone have sick kids? Think of how LITTLE bacteria kids get these days, with all the “anti-bacterial” stuff.

Photo credit: Jasmic


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