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The role of gut bacteria is very important. There are between 300 to 500 of various bacteria living inside your gut.

These, and the other tiny organisms like viruses and fungi in your system, create the “microbiome.”

Just like a fingerprint, everyone’s microbiome is unique, based on family history, diet and lifestyle.

While some bacteria are associated with disease, others are extremely important for your immune system, heart, weight and many other aspects of health.

Find out more about gut health and microbiome here.

benefits good ut bacteria - Healthy Gut Bacteria and Ways to Improve the Gut Microbiome

 

Eating for a Healthy Gut Microbiome can Benefit You by:

  • Improving digestion and absorption
  • Reducing the risk of inflammatory disease
  • Decreasing bloating, constipation and diarrhoea
  • Helping prevent colon cancer
  • Aiding in weight management
  • Supporting heart and mental health
  • Reducing the risk of autoimmune disease
  • Reducing the risk of diabetes

 

What Are Health Risks Linked to Poor Gut Health?

When the bacteria, yeast, and viruses that live in your gut are in balance, the rest of your body is in harmony too.

However, when things go south, and the bad bacteria can take over the good, it can lead to an unhealthy gut.

There are several ways an unhealthy gut might manifest itself. Here are seven of the most common signs: 

Diarrhoea

Stomach disturbances like gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhoea, and heartburn can all be signs of an unhealthy gut.

A balanced gut will have less difficulty processing food and eliminating waste.

 

Poor Concentration

Your gut produces neurotransmitters that are directly connected to mood, thoughts, and other cognitive abilities, like concentration.

The next time you are struggling to focus or concentrate on a task or are getting distracted easily, your gut might be the culprit.

 

Mood Disorders

Your microbiome plays an important role in your mental health and the way you respond to stress-related situations.

Research suggests that certain hormones that are made in the gut, called gut peptides, control the signalling between your gut and brain.

 

Skin Inflammation and Acne

Skincare products are often recommended for common skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne and other inflammatory skin problems, but in many cases, an unhealthy gut is to blame.

Your gut is in direct communication with your skin through what’s called the gut-skin axis.

 

Sleep Disturbances or Constant Fatigue

An unhealthy gut may contribute to sleep disturbances such as insomnia or poor sleep, and therefore lead to chronic fatigue.

The majority of the body’s serotonin, a hormone that affects mood and sleep, is produced in the gut. So gut damage can impair your ability to sleep well.

 gastroenterologist johannesburg - Healthy Gut Bacteria and Ways to Improve the Gut Microbiome

When to see a Gastroenterologist 

We all get abdominal symptoms from time to time. It is part of the human condition.

But if any of the symptoms listed below persist for more than a few days for no obvious reason, I recommend booking an appointment with your gastroenterologist as soon as possible.

  • Chronic or unusual abdominal pain
  • Persistent or severe heartburn
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Persistent hoarseness or a sore throat
  • A feeling of having food stuck in your throat or chest
  • Episodes of choking
  • Persistent vomiting or nausea
  • Chronic diarrhoea
  • Bloody or black stool
  • Chronic constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Chronic bloating or gas
  • Difficulty evacuating your bowels

GIDOCJHB cares for patients suffering from any digestive discomfort or pain.

Whether it be heartburn, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or constipation, we aim to effectively give patients relief by treating the root cause.

Dr Schneider has formulated specific protocols to treat each type of gut problem.

He provides guidance on diet, fibre, probiotics, prebiotics and other natural supplements to help heal gut imbalances.

 

Schedule An Appointment With Dr Schneider

 

Foods and Lifestyle Habits to Avoid for a Healthier Gut

The foundation of good gut health depends on prebiotics, probiotics, postbiotics and fibre in your diet. Good gut bacteria thrive off of these foods, leading to better digestive health.

Life is all about a balancing act and your gut is no different. When you feed your good gut bacteria the right nutrients, they thrive – outweighing the effects of bad gut bacteria.

But, when you start feeding the bad gut bacteria the diet they like, the scale starts to tip. More bad gut bacteria that are active cause a dysfunctional digestive tract.

Tips to Outweigh Your Bad Gut Bacteria:

  • Ditch the artificial sweeteners
  • Eat fewer processed foods
  • Eliminate gluten
  • Avoid smoking, excessive caffeine & alcohol

 

gut microbiome food - Healthy Gut Bacteria and Ways to Improve the Gut Microbiome

Healthy Gut Habits

 

Rather than taking supplements that claim to “boost your immune system” with no good supporting evidence, the food you eat has a big impact on the range and type of microbes in the gut.

Try improving your dietary and lifestyle habits by following some of the recommendations below:

 

Fill Up on Fibre

High-fibre foods feed the healthy bacteria that improve immune function, reduce inflammation and chronic disease, and even help regulate mood.

 

Limit Fat’s

Avoid unhealthy fried foods, use coconut oil instead of regular oil, and use low-fat salad dressings, especially if you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

 

Avoid Overuse of Antibiotics

Overuse of antibiotics can kill off healthy bacteria. Always discuss any antibiotics you are thinking of taking with your gastroenterologist beforehand.

Get Enough Sleep

Adequate sleep is necessary to rest and restore our bodies from the past day’s activities. Without enough sleep, we may not have enough energy for our digestion to function as well as it should.

Manage Stress

We’ve all experienced stomach upset or a lingering uncomfortable feeling when under stress. That’s because the digestive system and brain communicate through nerves that connect the two.

Stress left untreated, can lead to other conditions like heartburn, ulcers, and Crohn’s disease.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is good for your heart and can also help keep your gastrointestinal system active.

Not only does exercise help maintain healthy body weight, but low-intensity exercise can help keep stool moving through and out of your system.

 

DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ CAREFULLY

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self-diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a Gastroenterologist or medical doctor regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs including, but not limited to: abdominal pain, haemorrhoids or anal / rectal bleeding as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.