Why Gut Bacteria Are So Important
Your body is home to 100 trillion bacteria in your gut made up of 1,000+ different species — and that’s just the beginning.
Your body is home to hundreds of trillions of different microscopic bacteria. In fact, you have 10 microbes for every single cell in your body, accounting for 1.5 – 2kg of your total body weight. Up to 95 percent of them can be found in your gut and these harmless bacteria play an incredibly important part in keeping you healthy.
WHAT DO THESE 100 TRILLION DO?
The 100 trillion bacteria in your gut are made up of over 1,000 different species. These bacteria, together with other microorganisms, are called your gut flora and are essential for your wellbeing. They support your digestive system, using enzymes to break down the food your body is unable to, and allowing you to extract more energy from what you eat.
WHAT’S THE GO ON GUT FLORA?
Gut flora is influenced by your diet, lifestyle and environment, which is why no two people’s are the same – its composition is unique, like your DNA. However, although it varies between individuals, it’s made up of similar types of bacteria that need to be diverse, stable and carefully balanced to function optimally. Drastic alterations in your diet, stressful situations or changes in health can influence the composition of your gut flora. This may lead to dysbiosis – a microbial imbalance that increases the levels of harmful bacteria, compared to the beneficial bacteria.
To ensure your gut flora functions properly, it’s important to make sure it has access to the right nutrients. A diet incorporating foods containing prebiotics and probiotics has been shown to have a positive effect on gut flora. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that help the development of bacteria while probiotics are live micro-organisms that provide health benefits when enough are consumed. Both are beneficial for the health and wellbeing of your gut flora, and the rest of your body too. Prebiotics are found in fruits, vegetables and some fermented dairy products, while probiotics can be found in certain fermented Dairy products.