Healthy Gut Flora for a Happy Holiday

Day11-Normal Gut Flora cropAnd then there were veggies….

As we all woke up on Christmas day, chocolate covered the living room. Not only that, there were always Christmas cookies leftover from the night before, for breakfast! Good memories and a fun time. But are we forgetting about our friends? The little ones that live with us day and night and the ones that love to be fed? The ones that are vital to a healthy gut?

Are these your pets?

You might be asking what I am talking about! Simply said, between the wine from the night before and the rest of the fun we had, we probably never thought about our friends. Did we feed them right? Are they happy today?

The friends I am referring to aren’t your dog or cat. They are the microscopic organisms called bacteria that are found all over our bodies. When we think about bacteria, we generally think about a sore throat or something else that makes us sick. Most bacteria are actually good for us. Did you know that there are about 10 times more of the good bacteria in your body that the total number of cells that we have? That is a TON of microorganisms.

We call these very good friends, our normal flora. We got our very first friends when we were born. Depending on how you were born, you might have been exposed to a LOT of them or not that many. And sadly, when we take antibiotics, we kill a lot of them as well. They are easy to find though, because they are everywhere!

These microorganisms love us so much that they make a lot of vitamins that we need, and they keep our immune system healthy. They also help us break down and absorb the food that we eat. Lately there are many people studying these bacteria, because they are fascinating. They are called the microbiome. They help take care of us but, are we taking good care of them?

Microorganisms are easy to care for. All you need to do is supply them with the things they need to stay healthy. So, what do they like? They for sure like fibre, which comes from the veggies and fruits that we eat. They also like a good supply of water and a nice environment. Once you give them the right environment, they will start multiplying and making colonies. These good colonies are what makes us feel so much better and energetic.

Do they also like junk food? The answer is simple. No! They don’t do well on junk food. Imagine what it would look like if they lived on processed food alone; that would be like living on dry concrete! Most likely, they wouldn’t be able to survive there. Refined flours and sugar can contribute to the growth of other less-friendly microorganisms, and can make the good bacterial colonies smaller.

Simply put, when the normal flora is not optimal, it might give our body some discomfort. The discomfort could be on our skin, or in our digestive tract, or in other parts of our body. It is as if we are not taking the best care possible of our friends.

Pass the Veggies Again PLEASE!

So, what is the best gift we can give our normal flora? It is very simple: feed them REAL FOOD. They love fibre, which comes from veggies and fruit. Enjoy a variety of produce with a variety of textures, colours and flavours. One of my favourite vegetables is jicama; it is a root, and it comes loaded with prebiotics. These prebiotics are the food that our bacteria enjoy the most. You might even be brave and try other unfamiliar vegetables as well. The most important thing to remember, however, is when you keep your friends healthy, you will be healthy as well!


Fresh Jicama

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Ingredients:

  •    Jicama
  •    1 lime
  •    Salt

Instructions:

Slice the jicama, and then cut with cookie cutters. Be creative! Jicama is one of the easiest and most versatile vegetables.

You might want to sprinkle the jicama with a bit of salt and lime or eat it raw. It is very refreshing.

And don’t forget to have fun!


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