The human gut is home to over 100 trillion bacteria, known as the "gut flora." Having a healthy gut flora is incredibly important for your overall health.
The friendly gut bacteria are important for digestion. They destroy harmful bacteria and other microorganisms and produce vitamin K, folate and short-chain fatty acids.
Here are 6 surprising things that can cause harm to your gut bacteria.
1.Lack of Prebiotics in the Diet
Prebiotics are a type of fiber that passes through the body undigested and promotes the growth and activity of friendly gut bacteria. Many foods, including fruits, vegetables and whole grains, naturally contain prebiotic fiber.
A lack of them in the diet may be harmful to your overall digestive health.
Antibiotics are important medicines used to treat infections and diseases caused by bacteria, such as urinary tract infections and strep throat. They work by either killing bacteria or preventing them from multiplying.
However, one of their drawbacks is that they affect both good and bad bacteria. In fact, even a single antibiotic treatment can lead to harmful changes in the composition and diversity of the gut flora.
Antibiotics usually cause a short-term decline in beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli, and can temporarily increase harmful bacteria like Clostridium.
3.Lack of Regular Physical Activity
Physical activity is simply defined as any movement of the body that burns energy.
Walking, gardening, swimming and cycling are all examples of physical activity.
Being physically active has a number of health benefits, including weight loss, lower stress levels and a reduced risk of chronic disease.
What's more, recent studies suggest that physical activity may also alter the gut bacteria, improving gut health
4.Not Getting Enough Sleep
Getting good sleep is very important for overall health.
Studies show that sleep deprivation is linked to many diseases, including obesity and heart disease.
Sleep is so important that your body has its own time-keeping clock, known as your circadian rhythm.
It appears that the gut also follows a daily circadian-like rhythm. Disrupting your body clock through a lack of sleep.
5.Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol is addictive, highly toxic and can have harmful physical and mental effects when consumed in large amounts. In terms of gut health, chronic alcohol consumption can cause serious problems, including dysbiosis.
Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, 70 of which can cause cancer.
Smoking has detrimental effects on nearly even organ in the body. Giving up smoking can improve gut health by increasing the diversity of the gut flora, and this can occur after only nine weeks.
Here are some tips on how to improve your gut flora:
• Eat more prebiotic foods: Eat plenty of foods rich in prebiotic fibers, such as legumes, onions, asparagus, oats, bananas and others.
• Consume more probiotics: Probiotics may increase the abundance of healthy gut bacteria. Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kimchi, kefir and tempeh, are all excellent sources. You could also start taking a probiotic supplement.