By Hannah Schenker
Hey mama – are you taking care of your microbiome? Perhaps this isn’t a question you’ve been asked before, nor something you have spent any time thinking over. But your microbiome – the complex internal ecosystem of bacteria within your body (the vast majority of which live in your digestive system) is crucial for boosting immunity, keeping your digestive system running smoothly, your hormone levels balanced and your brain working properly. If you are pregnant or have a new baby, your physical and mental health and wellbeing is crucial, and you will be sharing that with your baby. Feeding these friendly bugs is super simple – you can do that with a quality daily probiotic.
You’ve probably heard people raving about gut health in recent years and for good reason. Nearly 80 per cent of our immune system is located in our gut. The digestive system comprises of cells, proteins, tissues and organs which work together to defend the body against harmful bacteria, infectious diseases and toxins. The friendly bugs that live there are vital for our overall immunity, helping our immune cells defend against any incoming attacks in the form of pathogens and infections. Pregnant and new mums need all the help they can get to ensure they stay healthy and strong, to cope with the mental, emotional and physical demands of caring for a child, so taking good care of your microbiome is super important.
How you can help your microbiome:
- Eat whole, nutrient-rich foods. Chemically processed foods often contain compounds that feed the bad bacteria and cause imbalance. Make sure you have three junk food-free days a week at least.
- Eat less sugar. Yep, sorry! Sugar is another culprit that feeds the unhealthy bacteria.
- Chew your food. Chewing your food well will help your body do what it’s meant to and feed the healthy bacteria and promote healthy digestion.
- Stay hydrated. We all know it! Water is necessary for just about every bodily function, including maintaining a healthy gut.
- Drink apple cider vinegar. Adding a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water can boost the amount of acid in your stomach, helping your digestion to function properly.
- Consume more probiotics. Eating fermented foods and taking probiotic supplements can help restore the balance in your gut. Taking a good probiotic is the first place to start, whether you make any of the above changes or not. It will take time to heal your gut, so adding in a probiotic AND making some or all of the above changes is the quickest way to reboot your system. Introduce probiotic-rich foods into your diet: sauerkraut, yoghurt, kefir, miso, kombucha and more.