The idea of bacteria sounds repulsive, so why are bacteria important for a healthy gut? Read on to find out.
RELATED: Is Your Microbiome Normal?
In this article:
- Helps Digest Fiber
- Helps Maintain the Immune System
- Helps with Brain Health
- Controls Body Weight
- Protects Against Infections
- Promotes Good Heart Health
- Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
Why Are Bacteria Important for Gut Health? Here Are 7 Vital Reasons
What Are Gut Bacteria?
Your gut is home to an entire ecosystem of friendly bacteria, fungi, and other tiny living things. Collectively, they are called gut microbiome, and they work together to keep a healthy balance and function in your digestive system.
Many of these creatures live in your intestines, of which the friendly bacteria are the most studied. There are actually more bacteria in your body: a whopping 40 trillion bacteria cells compared to only 30 trillion human cells.
Bacteria are an inevitable fact of life. You are exposed to them as you are born, and they only diversify as you grow older.
As healthy bacteria start to diversify, they provide a number of important benefits to the body. Here are ways bacteria is helpful:
1. Helps Digest Fiber
We keep hearing about fiber and how important it is to consume enough of it for our health. But it’s also beneficial for gut health because fiber is an important factor in healthy digestion.
When we eat fiber-rich foods, our bodies are not able to digest all of the fiber. This kind of indigestible fiber is called insoluble fiber and is often found in many plant-based foods such as fruit skins, vegetables, and seeds.
But as the insoluble fiber reaches our intestines, the gut bacteria start digesting it themselves. This keeps them well fed and thriving, making sure they do their job of keeping the gut healthy by producing beneficial short-chain fatty acids.
2. Helps Maintain the Immune System
The microbiota living in our gut can also help in maintaining the immune system, as well as how it can respond to attacks. It gives out signals that help the immune system function and develop.
Study shows that many inflammatory, neoplastic, autoimmune, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases have links to intestinal dysbiosis.
Intestinal Dysbiosis Definition: Happens when the gut microbiome is severely changed in both function and composition.
By maintaining a diverse gut microbiome, we ensure it functions at peak fighting form. This means it can be able to detect when the body is under attack and helps send signals to the immune system to start fighting back.
3. Helps with Brain Health
Studies suggest that there may be a relation to the gut microbiome and mental health. Changes in the numbers of gut microbiota may also have a contribution to influencing disease, as well as physiology.
Gut microbiota apparently communicates to the central nervous system through immune, endocrine, and neural pathways. This lets them have a hand in behavior and brain function, meaning they play a role in regulating our pain, mood, anxiety, and cognition.
4. Controls Body Weight
Gut dysbiosis, which is an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria, can be a factor that contributes to weight gain. A proper balance of gut bacteria ensures a properly functioning metabolic system, which can be hampered or disrupted upon gut dysbiosis.
Studies conducted on twins with vastly different microbiome composition but identical diets show that the twin with more diverse gut microbiome was healthier. Gut bacteria that digest fibers provide their human hosts the ability to extract more energy from dietary polysaccharides that are otherwise indigestible.
Obesity is then more common when there is a reduction of bacterial diversity, as well as changes in microbiota composition. The study on twins’ gut microbiome also goes on to show that gut health is not genetic but can be improved through lifestyle changes.
5. Protects Against Infections
A diverse set of friendly gut bacteria ensures proper gut health. It also helps us avoid diseases such as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) as well as IBD (inflammatory bowel disease).
Studies show that manipulating gut microbiota composition can be an effective cure for inflammatory diseases in the lower digestive tract.
A diet rich in prebiotics and probiotics can also help people avoid both constipation and diarrhea. A healthy gut ecosystem can also relieve and improve some symptoms of lactose intolerance in adults.
Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which are living cultures present in many probiotic foods, contribute to gut health. They provide more species to the gut flora, as well as help seal gaps in intestinal cells, protecting it from infections.
These species of bacteria can also fight off and prevent microorganism-induced diseases.
6. Promotes Good Heart Health
While they may be far apart, gut bacteria can even influence good heart health. They do this by promoting triglycerides and good HDL cholesterol.
This connection of gut bacteria to heart health is primarily due to the metabolization of choline. Choline is a nutrient the liver produces in small amounts and is necessary for heart health.
It helps remove lipids like bad cholesterol from your liver. This also helps prevent those bad fats from reaching your heart and clogging your arteries.
Most of our necessary choline comes from food sources. However, it only undergoes successful metabolism by the good gut bacteria.
7. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels
The risk of type 1 and 2 diabetes is very high in people with high levels of blood sugar. Studies show that there exists a correlation between a high number of unhealthy gut bacteria to the onset of type 1 diabetes.
Another study shows that while the diets between some human subjects were similar, their blood sugar levels were not. This indicates that having a thriving ecosystem of gut flora can contribute to the maintenance of lower blood sugar levels.
Here are 9 reasons to choose BIOHM Whole Probiotics from BIOHM Health:
Nurturing bacteria may sound a little counterproductive for maintaining good health. But as with all things, a proper balance always precedes what constitutes as a good thing.
Eating prebiotic and probiotic foods can help keep your gut flora healthy and thriving. Eating fibrous fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods, and cultured dairy guarantees a diverse gut microbiome.
You can also supplement your diet with prebiotic and probiotic supplements. BIOHM Nourish Regimen supplements can provide up to 30 billion live cultures when consumed daily.
How have gut bacteria helped you feel healthy? Share your experiences in the comments section below!