Recent news reports have claimed that supplements derived from gut bacteria, the microbes that inhabit the digestive tract, might one day pave the way for slowing down the ageing process.
We are not there yet but the science is real and the facts seem to be adding up. I’m no scientist but the way I see it is, it turns out the gut could be our body’s fountain of youth!
Why is it so important to look after your digestive system?
The vast majority of good bacteria are inside our digestive tract where in exchange for food and a place to live they provide a variety of life supporting functions for our body. I was amazed to find out that it seems they can influence our immunity, assist with detoxification, give us energy by helping us absorb nutrients better and according to one group of scientists even promote more beautiful skin!
The problem is as we get older many things deplete our level of good gut bacteria like antibiotics in food and medicine, stress and environmental toxins and chemicals. This means there aren’t enough of the good guys around to keep us healthy and youthful. As the good guys decrease, the bad guys takeover which can have all sorts of consequences for our health. This allows many aspects of the ageing process to accelerate.
A balanced gut teaming with good bacteria is essential for healthy ageing and so here are the important ways you can manage it.
Using probiotic supplements.
Take a high quality daily probiotic supplement for a three month period. Some strains are specifically formulated for more mature adults like advanced 40+ Acidophilus by Solgar.
Avoid things which will deplete your good bacteria.
These are things like antibiotics in food such as non-organic meats, antibiotic medicine unless absolutely necessary and even antibacterial household cleaners can play a part. This may be a step too far for me!
Feed your probiotic bacteria.
This food is known as prebiotics and it keeps the probiotics alive and allows them to thrive. This indigestible fibre is what they love and it’s found in things like bananas, onions, leeks, oats, apples and barley.
Add fermented foods into your diet.
Recent studies show they are an amazing source of probiotics and in some cases prebiotics as well. One such food is Kimchi that I recently discovered. It’s a Korean dish of fermented cabbage in chilli! It’s much tastier than its description suggests and provides probiotics and prebiotics in one hit. If you’re not a chilli lover then German Sauerkraut is another option… if you can bear it! Live yoghurt is great but for quality, check it has the ‘live and active cultures’ seal. If you mix this with some oats it will also deliver that prebiotic hit in one dose. Miso and Kefir are also both good sources of probiotics.
So, the news on our beneficial gut bacteria is really exciting.
I will certainly be keeping an eye on the latest developments over the next few months to see which strains of good bacteria appear to be the most beneficial when it comes to how we age.
Watch this space!
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