Bacteria may not be something that we typically associate with something that is good. As a culture we tend to sanitize, apply antibacterial gel to our hands, and use antibacterial cleaners for the house. Well, not to burst your very clean bubble, but your gut is full of bacteria.
Your gut is filled with millions of bacteria known as “gut flora” that are one of your body’s greatest lines of defense. Gut flora help to protect your body from disease, but also help you build up your immune system. A healthy gut has a wide variety of flora which help provide you more protection. You can improve your gut’s flora with the foods you eat. By eating a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, you can add healthy bacteria to your gut. Limited flora is linked to poor diets that are high in processed foods and obesity.
Altering your gut flora could lead to illness or disease. While antibiotics may be necessary for certain infections, they can disrupt your gut flora. Certain flora may be destroyed with a course of antibiotics leading to diarrhea and even an illness named for the bacteria that causes it, clostridium difficile. C. diff is a bacteria that can be life threatening. Following a course of antibiotics, c. diff is not kept in check by the gut flora and can overtake the colon leading to inflammation and diarrhea. It is important to note that you are more likely to get c. diff if you are on long term antibiotics, taking multiple antibiotics, or have been in the hospital or nursing facility.
Your body needs a wide variety of gut flora to build a healthy immune system and protect your body from infection and disease. You can increase your flora with a healthy diet consisting of different types of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Taking a probiotic will help to continually introduce good bacteria into the gut and aid in digestion. If you have questions about gut bacteria or picking the right probiotic talk to one of the doctors at Associates In Digestive Health today.