Gut Health 101
The gut is termed the second brain for a reason. It’s an important organ completely fundamental to our overall health and well-being. Our guts are linked to our immune system, our mood, mental health and so much more! This makes sense as ~95% of serotonin (the happy hormone) is produced in the gut and there is an inextricable link between the gut and the brain (read more here!).
Although diet is arguably the most important factor when it comes to gut health, this is by no means the only influencing factor. Gut health is influenced by stress levels, good quality sleep, exercise, and so much more!
This is why it is so important to take care of yourself and your gut, and to learn all about the importance of gut health and its effects on both your physical and mental health.
So lets start off with the basics…
What is the gut microbiome?
Put simply, the gut microbiome is all the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi) present in our gastrointestinal tract (GIT). Trillions of these microorganisms (or microbes for short) reside in our guts, in particular in our large intestines.
Interestingly, the total weight of of our gut microbes is thought to be between 1 and 2 kgs – around the same weight as our brains! These microbes play such an important role in our health, mostly good but some are associated with disease.
There are up to 1000 species of bacteria in our guts and each species play a different role. This is why the world of gut health is so vast and confusing to many!
What are probiotics?
Again, put simply, probiotics are gut friendly bacteria, in other words the ‘good’ microbes. They play a variety of roles, from helping to digest food, to supporting our immune system to controlling bad bacteria.
Other than in supplement form, probiotics can be found in a variety of foods. Including: yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, kimchi, and even in our lovely Willy’s ACV!
So then what are prebiotics?
If you’ve heard of probiotics, you may have also heard of prebiotics. Although the words sound similar, they are in fact very different! Prebiotics are in fact a form of fibre. Unlike probiotics, they’re not alive. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria in our guts and help to keep them in tip top shape.
Prebiotics can be found naturally in our food, such as, in leeks, onions, apples, garlic, asparagus, berries, bananas, artichokes and peas.
But why are probiotics and prebiotics important for gut health (and overall health!)?
Good gut bacteria help to protect us from harmful bacteria, and help to reduce inflammation. The more good bacteria we have in our guts, the less bad bacteria can reside. This is important for our immune systems, but has also been linked to increased mental health, and better overall health.
There are some simple ways to support your gut health and we’ve listed out some of these here. However, why not take the first step by getting your daily dose of Willy’s ACV to fuel your gut with delightful probiotics. Shop here!