How to Keep Your Gut Bacteria Strong and Healthy

The GastroIntestinal or GI tract is made up of the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine.  Indeed this entire tract is filled with gut bacteria that is important to your health.

gut bacteria

Bacterial Genera in the Gut

First of all, the stomach is home to the gut bacterium Lactobacillus, with a population that is less than one thousand colony forming units per milliliter.

Next, the small intestine is home to two gut bacteria: Enterococcus and Lactobacillus with a total bacteria population of one hundred to one billion colony forming units per milliliter.

Finally, the large intestine is home to eight gut bacteria: Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Enterococcus, Bacteroides, Clostridium, Eubacterium, Staphylococcus, and Coliforms with a total bacteria population that ranges from ten thousand to one trillion colony forming units per milliliter.

Most noteworthy, a 2016 study at the Weizmann Institute of Science reported that the average human male has about 40 trillion bacteria, most of which resides in his digestive tract. Moreover, all of these gut bacteria may weigh as much as two to five pounds.

Benefits of Gut Bacteria

Most noteworthy, the benefits of these gut bacteria include weight loss, immune functions, and digestive health. Furthermore, these probiotic mixtures help treat irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, atopic diseases, immune functions, respiratory tract infections, inflammatory bowel diseases, and treatment of Helicobacter pylori infection.

In addition, a study in the Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility reported about the beneficial effects of gut bacteria.  In fact, probiotic lactic acid bacteria strains from Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium likely help psychiatric disorder-related behaviors. Indeed, these behaviors include anxiety, depression, autism spectrum disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, along with memory abilities, including spatial and non-spatial memory.

Consequently, keeping your gut biome healthy is in your best interest. Indeed one way to keep the gut biome healthy, while also enabling its growth, is by eating healthy snacks. And snacks that help fuel growth of gut biome, while keeping it healthy, make up the healthy gut bacteria diet.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Bananas

First of all, bananas help stabilize gut bacteria. Moreover, a medium sized green banana contains about 3 grams of fiber, some of which is the Type 2 resistant starch, a carbohydrate. Especially relevant, neither the stomach nor the small intestines digest the resistant starch. Accordingly, the resistant starch feeds the growth of bacteria in the large intestines. Next, the bacteria breaks down and ferments starch passing through the large intestines producing short-chain fatty acids. And these fatty acids, in turn, may help prevent chronic diseases. Furthermore, use of fatty acids in treating ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and antibiotic-associated diarrhea has been demonstrated by clinical studies.

Benefits of Cheese

Eating soft cheese is an excellent way to deliver probiotics to the large intestines. In fact, the pH of the cheese enables probiotics to survive and grow in the intestines. Consequently, soft cheese is better than yogurt at delivering probiotics to the large intestines. Most noteworthy, soft cheeses with fair amounts of probiotics include cheddar, parmesan, and Swiss cheese. However, Gouda cheese delivers the most probiotics to the large intestines.

Cold Potatoes for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Cold potatoes are potatoes that are washed, boiled, and then left to cool down. Next, as they cool down, cold potatoes form a firm texture. Indeed, this is the resistant starch forming. And, like green bananas, these cold potatoes contain Type 2 resistant starch. Also, like green bananas, the Type 2 resistant starch is an indigestible carbohydrate ending up in the large intestines. And, like green bananas, the resistant starch feeds gut bacteria, encouraging their growth and helping them flourish.

Surprising Benefits of Dark Chocolate

Next, a study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology reported that chocolate protected probiotic bacteria in the stomach.  As a result, the probiotic bacteria made its way to the large intestines.

Indeed, 22 volunteers, experienced significant increase in Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli population in their guts after consuming high-flavanol cocoa for four weeks.

In addition, scientist at the 2014 American Chemical Society meeting reported more benefits of eating dark chocolate. Most noteworthy, cocoa contains flavonols - antioxidant molecules that are too large for our body to absorb on its own.

However, Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, at the end of the digestive tract, ferments the antioxidants and fiber in cocoa into smaller, absorbable compounds that make their way into our bloodstream. Moreover, these anti-inflammatory compounds reduces stress on blood vessels and lowers blood pressure - thereby benefiting the cardiovascular system. Finally, these anti-inflammatory compounds increase insulin sensitivity – thereby reducing the blood’s insulin levels.

Meanwhile, the fermentation process results in short-chain fatty acids like butyrate and acetic acid. And these acids helps fend off harmful microbes while reinforcing the gut barrier against antigens and invaders.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Garlic

Above all, raw garlic is the best source of non-digestible prebiotic fiber. However you eat garlic (either raw or cooked), the stomach does not digest the prebiotic fiber in garlic. Consequently, the prebiotic fiber makes its way to the large intestines where it promotes growth of gut bacteria.

Meanwhile, asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, onions, nuts, lentils, chickpeas, fruits, vegetables, and beans are also all excellent sources of prebiotic fiber.

Honey for Healthy Gut Bacteria

Most of all, raw honey contains compounds like oligosaccharides that are not digested by the small intestines. Consequently, the oligosaccharide compounds end up in the large intestines, where they provide nourishment to the good bacteria. Most noteworthy, raw honey primarily encourages growth of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli bacteria. Moreover, the Bifidobacteria bacteria helps your body with digestion. While the Lactobacilli bacteria produces lactic acid, which prevents harmful bacteria from colonizing the intestines.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Oatmeal

First of all, oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber. Moreover, healthy sugars, such as beta glucans, are found in the cell walls of certain bacteria.  Furthermore, beta-glucan fiber encourages growth of good bacteria in the gut.  Indeed, according to researchers, eating oats results in significantly higher levels of Lactobacilli bacteria, and lower levels of Enterobacteriaceae along with other non-essential bacteria.

Benefits of Sauerkraut

Most of all, unpasteurized sauerkraut is a fermented cabbage that is rich in probiotics. In fact, the probiotics are a result of the fermentation process. Also sauerkraut is a good form of dietary fiber while also containing vitamins C and K, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. Finally, sauerkraut has bacteria that helps to fight inflammation and helps the immune system.

Sour Pickles for a Healthy Gut Biome

Next, naturally fermented pickles have plenty of good bacteria. In fact, the sea salt and water used to ferment the pickles causes good bacteria to grow. Above all, make sure the pickling process did not use vinegar. Finally, sour pickles hinder the growth of harmful gut bacteria while boosting the body’s defenses against infection.

Healthy Gut Bacteria Diet with Yogurt

Most of all, a very familiar healthy food for many is yogurt. Moreover, yogurt supplies probiotics such as Lactobacillus bulgaricus. In fact, Lactobacillus bulgaricus is also a bacteria normally residing in your intestines. Furthermore, Lactobacillus bulgaricus prevents harmful bacteria from growing in the gut while promoting growth of beneficial bacteria.

In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, Lactobacillus bulgaricus bacteria may benefit some health conditions. These include liver disease, common cold, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, eczema, hay fever, colic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.

Furthermore, yogurt also provides minerals such as phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, and of course calcium for healthy bones.

Lastly, the best yogurt for weight loss is plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. In fact, some Greek yogurts have added probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus casei bacteria.

About the Author Lisa