Hippocrates once said, “all disease begins in the gut” - this famous phrase shaped one of the fundamental principles of naturopathy and the gut is often referred to as a foundation pillar of health for the body.
An increasing number of scientists report the beneficial interactions between the microbes that live in our gut normally – which we call the commensal microbiota – and the rest of the human body. In return for food and shelter, the friendly gut bacteria help us to digest food, absorb nutrients, keep pathogenic bacteria at bay.
We need a variety of good bacteria to enable our body function properly. Foods that contain good bacteria tend to be fermented foods, such as live yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha and kimchi.
These fermented foods contain beneficial Lactobacilli bacteria. Their transient nature means they have to be consumed regularly (e.g. live yoghurt daily) to be of benefit.
Probiotics are live microorganisms that help to keep the digestive system healthy by reducing the growth of harmful gut microbes and boosting the number and variety of ‘friendly’ gut microbes.
When the balance in the gut is disturbed, at such times, eating fermented foods (eg kefir, natural yogurt and probiotic supplements) can help repopulate the good bacteria.