Tummy Bugs and How to Treat Them

A healthy gut is everything. Your tummy and your intestines need to be in ship-shape condition and need to be treated well. That means the fuel and materials you put into it need to nourish, feed and maintain the balance and the lining of the whole area.

Gut Flora

According to the Online Textbook of Bacteriology, “the surface tissues – skin and mucous membranes of an animal- are constantly in contact with environmental organisms and become readily colonised by various microbial species.”[1]

And that includes your tummy. Your intestines in fact need bacteria and flora to work properly. This is a kind of mutually beneficial – symbiotic relationship – that benefits both the bacteria and the human being. Bacteria help to keep you healthy and also help to keep the lining of your stomach functioning properly.

The lower intestinal tract contains the largest number of bacteria. Some of these are however harmful and have even been implicated in the development of colitis and also colonic cancer. These are Bacteroides which are “gram-negative, anaerobic, non-spore forming bacteria.

The positive bacteria that works well for you is the Bifidobacteria group. These are Gram-positive, non-spore forming, lactic acid bacteria. Nutritionists and naturopaths often describe these as the “friendly” bacteria. They are also used to develop yoghurt and are included in probiotic formulas as one of the mainstay ingredients.

Probiotic Formulas

The American Academy of Paediatrics says that “probiotic bacteria favour the development of a healthy digestive tract and good overall general health.”[2] You can source excellent probiotic formulas for infants, children and adults. Your naturopath can help you with a reputable product.

You can also introduce probiotic foods into your diet.

Some of the top probiotic foods include:

  • Yoghurt
  • Kefir –a fermented drink similar to yoghurt. It is also rich in antioxidants
  • Dark chocolate – a bit of dark chocolate
  • Miso soup – you can buy miso in packets. It is a quick and easy fermented paste that mixes into a yummy broth. It alkalises your system and also contains protein.
  • Kimchi – or Korean sauerkraut is a fermented, spicy cabbage. It is one of the premier forms of probiotic food.
  • Tempeh
  • Spirulina – an ocean based plant that helps promote lactobacillus and bifidobacteria in the digestive tract.

You can purchase many of these foods from your local health food store. Supermarkets in Australia are now including health food sections which often carry a variety of basic natural health products and foods that can benefit you.

Remember keep your gut flora healthy and happy. You will feel better, sleep better and live better.

[1] http://www.textbookofbacteriology.net/normalflora.html

[2] http://www.healthychildren.org/