Digestive health has emerged as the top priority for health-conscious people because your gut actually determines overall health and wellness. From preventing digestive issues in promoting weight management, boosting immunity and keeping you in good mood, there is a lot that a healthy gut microbiome can do for you. Despite the increasing focus on digestive wellness, there are still several misconceptions that prevail. Many of these can lead you to make wrong choices and spend on products that may not deliver any value at all. If you want to optimize your gut health by taking the right approach to food, exercise, and lifestyle, here are some myths and misconceptions that you need to know about. (See also: What You Need To Know About Gut Health)
Myth 1: All bacteria that live in your gut are bad
You will be surprised to know that your digestive tract is home to trillions of bacteria. Despite the belief that bacteria are harmful to your health, many of the species that live inside your gut are actually beneficial. The human microbiome is an army of friendly bacteria that live on the skin and in the gastrointestinal and urogenital tracts. The healthy ones in the gut break down the food you eat, regulate the metabolism and protect you against lethal infections.
Good microbes have a symbiotic relationship with your digestive system. While they boost immunity and aid digestion, these bacteria derive nutrition from the food you eat. Therefore, it becomes important to do your own bit by eating right and giving them the nutrition they require to thrive within your body.
Myth 2: Healthy eating is just about keeping track of the calories, fat, and sugar you consume
If you think that just keeping track of the calories, fat, and sugar that you are consuming is enough to maintain your digestive health, then you are mistaken. Eating mindfully for cultivating your microbiome is much more as you are eating for the thousands of good bacteria therein. You may be loading on the calories but the microbes could be starving because they cannot get enough of what they need to survive and grow.
The idea is to eat foods that are good for you and your microbiome as well. Instead of fulfilling your calorie requirements with unhealthy fats and sugar, stick to complex foods that are hard to break down. The reason is that such foods have a lot to give to the healthy bacteria in your gut, in addition to helping you to weight loss benefits.
Myth 3: You can be sure about your digestive health if you are eating enough fiber
Yes, dietary fiber is good for your digestive health but there is only a partial truth in this statement. Experts recommend a daily intake of 30 g of fiber through food sources such as whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. But only ensuring that you are including an optimal amount of fiber in your daily diet will not help your gut health.
The right way to do is to load on a variety of fiber-rich foods. A majority of the commonly used fiber-rich foods do not help the gut bacteria to a significant extent. Research proves that the lesser known prebiotic fiber types such as resistant starch are more helpful for nourishing the good bugs that live in your bowel.
Myth 4: Spicy foods can cause ulcers
Another commonly prevalent myth about digestive health is that people who eat spicy foods are more likely to come across ulcers. But if you are a hot sauce lover, you need not worry because these sores are attributed to the bacteria in the gut rather than the food you eat. Ulcers develop due to an infection caused by Helicobacter pylori.
Excessive use of pain medications such as aspirin and ibuprofen also elevates the risk of stomach ulcers. Yes, spicy foods can aggravate the existing ulcers but they are least likely to cause them. The best approach to preventing intestinal and stomach ulcers is to cultivate a healthy microbiome rather than only to avoid spicy foods.
Myth 5: All probiotic supplements are the same
Probiotic supplements are definitely a plus for your gut health but thinking that all of them are the same is wrong. Every single product varies in composition and effects and must be chosen with great care. Some are formulated with a single strain while others are made up of multiple strains. Each of the strains of organisms used in making the supplement has a different impact.
The benefits associated with a specific supplement depend on the bacteria used in making it. Therefore, you should carefully go through the product information before picking one. Dr. Jon Davidson, the founder of MicrobeFormulas.com, says the gut health has become a major issue in the field of overall health in the world.
Myth 6: Probiotics are all that your gut needs
Undoubtedly, natural and supplemental probiotics bring a host of health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, boosting digestive health and alleviating skin problems. At the same time, they cannot be effective enough alone but are to be supported by prebiotics to give all that your gut bacteria require. Unless they get enough of both, the good microbes that reside there will not be able to grow and flourish the way you would want them to.
Whether it is your diet or the supplements you take, the approach needs to be a holistic one. Combine probiotics with prebiotics to nurture a healthy environment within your digestive tract. This is one investment that you should absolutely make for your good health. Probiotics and prebiotics are not alternatives to medicines but they can go a long way in preventing disease in the first place.
Your microbiome is a valuable asset for your body as it ensures good health in more than one ways. Clearing out these common myths and misconceptions about your digestive health is a good way to pay more attention to the useful bacteria inside your gut. Ensure that you restructure your dietary habits and lifestyle to get your microbiome on track and live healthier.
About The Author:
This article has been contributed by Imala Green, who is a passionate blogger associated as a freelancer and working for different firms. She loves penning her thoughts while promoting businesses to target audience.