The Effect Of Bacteria In The Body

One of the things we are forever hearing about when it comes to health and diet is the prominence of bacteria both good and bad.

The word itself hardly has good connotations, but has been given a better press in recent years with the proliferation of products and information surrounding good bacteria that help to take care of the gut, which is often referred to by health experts as the ‘second brain’ in terms of its impact on the wider health of the body.

That said, harmful bacteria have a ubiquitous place in our daily health and lives – any woman who’s had a bout of Thrush or Candida can attest to that!


Diet and bacteria

Modern diets are a breeding ground for Candida and other harmful bacteria in the body thanks to the large amount of refined sugar that we’re accustomed to eating combined with other processed foods and alcohol. Candida for example needs sugar in order to multiply so refined sugars in particular feed the problem.

At the same time, refined sugar and alcohol are known to have a negative impact on your immune system’s ability to keep infections at bay, as well as wreaking havoc on your hormones, so all in all, a pretty negative experience for your body to be going through on a regular basis.

On the other hand, diet can also be used to help prevent bad bacteria from taking its toll. Coconut oil is known to be a potent anti fungal for example and helps to strengthen the immune system whether it’s being used in cooking or added to your tea or coffee in the morning. Garlic stimulates the liver and colon producing a detox effect and onions have anti parasitic properties. Other foods to include are classic favourites including ginger, lemon, pumpkin seeds and cayenne pepper. Of course I always recommend starting the day with a green juice as the ultimate immune boosting tip.

antibioticsAntibiotics and gut health

Antibiotics are also known to cause bacterial infections like Candida because while they kill off the bad bacteria for which they are generally prescribed, they also attack the good bacteria that keep the likes of Candida in check, so it’s a vicious cycle.

Of course if you need antibiotics or other medication then it’s very much a case of speaking to your doctor and seeing if an alternative is possible, but if it’s not, which is often the case then it’s more about giving the body the support it needs for the duration of medication, whether that’s long or short term.

The good news is that there are simple things you can do to use nutrition to keep the body, and the gut in particular, healthy. Foods including kefir (a fermented milk drink – it tastes a bit like fizzy yoghurt, but you get used to it) which is gaining prominence in the mass market rather than being relegated to health food stores and other fermented plant based foods including sauerkraut, kimchi and probiotics. When you’re buying kefir however, as with many of these things, make sure you’re looking at the labels and identifying the unprocessed versions because processing generally uses heat which tends to damage all the good things in it!

stressStress and gut bacteria

Another lifestyle factor which we don’t seem to be able to get away from is the ever increasing stress levels that we’re all under. Stress it seems has an impact on bacteria in the gut, which in turn has a negative impact on our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to illness. In turn this as we know can have a detrimental impact on fertility, simply because it puts the body under greater pressure and also has a knock on effect on hormone levels.

Telling people to reduce the amount of stress in their lives is a bit of a non-starter for most of us, so it comes down to managing it, and also, once again, giving the body what it needs to support itself. Regular exercise, getting the right levels of nutrition, limiting refined sugars and scheduling in time to relax, whether that’s a retreat, a holiday, a massage every now and again, or half an hour in the evening to yourself, it’s important to stop thinking of that time as indulgent and start thinking of it as entirely necessary.


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