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Why is My Gut Health Important?

Maintaining good gut health is important to over-all well-being. Many healthcare practices, unless you have a specific complaint about constipation/diarrhea/bloating, are unable to address this adequately due to time constraints. Your gut is very important for many processes, and has a role in metabolism, immune function, mental health, in addition to digestion. Your gut health is so important because if you are unable to have a balanced gut microbiome (all the friendly gut bacteria) you may notice health issues creep in such as irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune issues, depression, gas/bloating, diarrhea, constipation, weight gain/obesity, allergies, skin issues. Here at Uplift Family Medicine, we have the time to address these things with you, work with you and create a plan for you rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that many patients are used to.

What can you do?

There are several things that address this. Most people have heard of prebiotics and probiotics. Most think of these as pills that you have to take. However, with a healthy diet, pills are not really necessary. If you have been on an antibiotic recently and would like to quickly replace some healthy bacteria, then this is an exception.

As a matter of fact, when dealing with hospitalized patients, doctors frequently prescribe patients a probiotic while receiving really strong antibiotics especially to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. As great as antibiotics are, they do kill both the good and bad bacteria. Therefore, the good bacteria need to be replaced. Let’s go over the difference between a prebiotic and probiotic, and then we will discuss what you can do to encourage a healthy gut.

  • PREbiotics – beneficial bacteria are a result of your body’s already present healthy bacteria breaking down certain foods and beneficial bacteria multiplying naturally in your gut. These foods include whole grains, bananas, greens, onions, garlic, soybeans, artichokes.
  • PRObiotics – beneficial bacteria in foods such as yogurt or sauerkraut. These bacteria are generally the result of some sort of fermentation process. The bacteria are swallowed. These bacteria are typically used to keep your body healthy and/or replace the good bacteria that certain lifestyle factors, disease or medications.

After reading the above, you can see how both prebiotics and probiotics play a role. Things you can do to encourage and maintain a healthy gut is to:

  • eat lots of foods that encourage your gut to produce the beneficial bacteria itself,
  • incorporate probiotics if you have a bowel disease, digestive issues, chronic bloating, repeated antibiotic courses, recent episode of the “stomach flu” etc.

At Uplift Family Medicine, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to your gut. Uplift Family Medicine is a Direct Primary Care practice. Here, we take time to get to know you and your goals and address you, as an individual. We would love to help you and your family.

JoBeth Augustyniak, DO – Owner and Family Medicine Physician at Uplift Family Medicine, PLLC

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