What about probiotics? Our guts have between 500-1000 species of bacteria but most probiotics have less than 10 species. If we keep taking the same strains daily, it may result in the diversity being compromised by having an excess of 3-10 species overwhelming the gut microbiota. For short term use, probiotics may be beneficial, but there is a risk of long-term use actually having negative effects. It is recommended that critically ill patients, post-surgical patients and those with compromised immune systems should not take probiotics. No-one is sure of which species are best as a probiotic and also, they must be alive to work (could be inactivated by stomach acid or heat or simply die).
So what can we do to help our gut microbes? Go outside and exercise. Get your hands dirty!! J The best bacteria come from the environment. Our worlds have become very ‘sterile’ and our modern lifestyles too sedentary.
Make plans to reduce stress and ESPECIALLY have regular sleeping patterns.
The obvious medications like antibiotics and oral contraceptives negatively affect our gut. Aim for a healthy lifestyle and eat a diet which includes a rich variety of plants. Add foods rich in PREBIOTIC fibre to your diet, for example: oats, onions, garlic, leeks, wheat-bran, asparagus, bananas, barley and apples. These prebiotics boost and nourish the helpful bacteria. You will also feel full if you eat food your bacteria enjoy. So, one wonders… do our organisms control our appetite??!!