Did you know that “your” body actually contains about 10 times as many microorganism cells as human cells? 

These microorganisms include bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeasts, and they make up our microbiota, or gut flora. 

We can’t live without them.

Most of these microorganisms live in our digestive system, but they are also present in many other parts of our bodies as well.

In order to live a full, vibrant, healthy life, with a strong immune system, we need to treat these tiny creatures with great respect, because they are key to optimal health.

Unfortunately, our modern food production system churns out foods that are very hard on our gut flora. Processed foods, with their refined sugars and starches along with loads of chemicals from pesticides to preservatives, are at the root of many modern ailments.

Often it is precisely because these processed and highly refined foods upset our gut flora that they cause ailments and diseases in the human body. Without a healthy gut, the rest of our bodies can’t be healthy.

By overprescribing antibiotics even for minor infections, conventional medicine also harms our microbiota, and it is becoming commonplace for people to catch deadly infections in hospitals.

And we’ve all heard of “superbugs” — strains of bacteria that have become resistant to even the strongest antibiotics.

So what can we do to keep our gut flora healthy and happy? Well, dear reader, here’s how we can start!

1. Eliminate sugar and flour

First and foremost, eliminate ALL sugar and flour — and in fact, most processed foods — from your diet. 

Believe me, I know this sounds like a drastic step! But once you do this and realize how much better you feel, you’ll realize it’s worth it. 

Simple sugars fuel the growth of pathogens, which are bad bacteria that can take over and force out the good bacteria. These bad microbes then produce metabolic waste that is detrimental to your health.

2. Avoid tap water

8 Ways to keep you gut health happy and healthyAvoid tap water, because chlorine kills microbes, both good and bad. 

Use pure spring water instead, or install a good-quality filter. This goes for shower water, too — you can get a filtering shower head for not much money.

3. Stop using antibacterial soaps

Stop using antibacterial soaps, hand sanitizers, and other antibacterial products. The bad bacteria just gets stronger and more resistant to them over time.

4. Consider natural childbirth and breastfeeding

If pregnant, consider natural childbirth and breastfeeding. Studies have shown that babies born by C-section and then bottle-fed rather than breastfed have a rougher start in life because they are not exposed to their mother’s bacteria when they are born. 

Not only do they get more earaches and other problems, but they are also much more likely to suffer from serious ailments such as autism, ADHD, and Tourette’s syndrome.

5.  Avoid antibiotics in meat

8 ways to keep your gut flora happyIf you’re going to eat meat, make sure it is free of antibiotics. Most commercial meat operations, including beef, pork, poultry — and even farmed fish! — load up the animals with antibiotics, to make them fatter (and thus more profitable) as well as to keep them from getting sick in the overcrowded, unhealthy conditions in which they are raised. 

Find out where your meat is from, and look for labels such as organic, grass-fed, free-range, or, in the case of fish, wild. Don’t be fooled by labels such as “natural” or “farm raised.”

6. Eat and drink probiotics

Eat/drink probiotic foods and beverages. Think about getting a crock and making your own sauerkraut or kimchi. Look for locally made sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, or other fermented products. Make sure they are raw and fermented, not pickled in vinegar. These foods are found in the refrigerated section, not the condiments aisle.

There are many probiotic foods and drinks available in specialty markets and health food stores, such as pickles (raw and packed in brine, not vinegar), sauerkraut (again, raw), kimchi, kefir, yogurt (make sure there’s no sugar added and that the live microbes are added after pasteurization), and kombucha drinks (watch for added sugar, though!).

7. Take probiotic supplements

Take quality probiotic capsules, especially if you don’t eat enough probiotic foods. Look for these in the refrigerated section of your local health food or supplement store. The best ones contain a good number of strains and a high number of organisms. Also look for ones that are optimized for your particular health concerns, whether for women, seniors, etc.

8. Eat prebiotics

And last but not least, eat lots of prebiotic foods, too. 

Prebiotics are the food our microbes need to thrive. If you feed them a lot of plant material, they will love you for it, because they live for fiber. They especially like jicama, Jerusalem artichoke, raw chicory root, dandelion greens, garlic, onions, leeks, and asparagus, but they also like just about any kind of vegetables. Your health will benefit greatly from eating a lot of vegetables.

Prebiotics are also where Micronized Purple Rice (MPR) comes in. I firmly believe our gut flora are very fond of MPR, and Dr. Doug Gabbert agrees. Here’s his take on how MPR can benefit our gut microbes:

“Gut microbes need nutrition — they’re alive — they feed off of what we eat. Plant material is very important to them. From that fuel, they’re able to help maintain a healthy GI tract. They thrive on the polysaccharides (complex sugars) in MPR, but they also benefit from the polypeptides (amino acid chains) as well. Micronized Purple Rice is a superfood for our gut flora!”

“We’re seeing wonderful testimonials from people with conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s, celiac disease, colitis, constipation, and diarrhea responding very well to MPR, and I believe part of that is because it improves our gut flora.”

Micronized Purple Rice is indeed a valuable support for our gut flora. Are you getting enough?

Which of these ways to keep your gut flora happy and healthy are you implementing?

Let me know in the comments!