Updated: Jul 4, 2021
100 trillion... that's how many bacteria live inside our gut. That's more than the number of cells in our body!
It's completely mind boggling when you think about it. It means we are more gut bacteria than we are human! But these bacteria (on the whole) are absolutely vital. They have been linked to:
skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis
mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety
weight gain and obesity
inflammatory bowel disease
In fact, with all clients, whether skin related or not, one of the first places I look at is the gut, and whether the diet is a gut bug friendly diet. In particular I like to see that a range of prebiotic foods are being eaten.
Prebiotics are foods (mostly carbohydrates) that we can't actually digest ourselves. Instead they make it into our colon fairly intact where they are then broken down by the gut bacteria living there. But what's so important about these prebiotic foods is that not all our gut bacteria like them. In fact it's only one, or a handful, of bacteria types that benefit from these prebiotic foods . Typically bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, which you might recognise those as they are commonly found in probiotics. These are two of the main 'good bacteria' strains that we want to support and by eating prebiotic foods we can help encourage the growth of them.
So what are prebiotic foods? Some of my favourites include pomegranate, garlic, cashew nuts, chickpeas, dates, leeks, rye, asparagus and fennel. Other good prebiotic foods include globe artichoke, apples, bananas (especially the underripe ones), oats, chicory root, tomatoes and cocoa.