You may not be be able to see them but there are bacteria in your guts - billions upon billions of them.
Maybe you’ve already heard about good bacteria (bifidobacteria) that resides in the lining of your gut.
Did you buy that pro-biotic yogurt or supplements a few years back?
Maybe you've been the victim of bad bacteria - i.e. food poisoning. I know I have been and it sucks.
But all of that bacteria can work for you or against you and it’s your choice.
Good Bacteria helps you digest food and absorb nutrition. Some of it even protects from you from toxins.
On the Keto diet - just like any other diet - it's important to keep these bacteria in balance. Not just for weight loss, but to keep you healthy.
Happily, some of the main points of a healthy Keto diet are also really good for your gut flora.
Keto's focus on eliminating sugar, eating healthy fats and getting enough fiber, make for happy guts.
But there are a few low carb habits that are bad for the good belly bugs.
Artificial non-nutrative sweeteners (NNS)
NNS are the thing Keto folk have the most trouble with.
To be clear, it's the chemical sweeteners, things like Sucralose (Splenda) and Aspartame (Equal and NutraSweet) that wreak havoc on the friendly gut bugs.
Many of the sugar alcohols are actually good for your good bacteria, but they have some other problems, for many people they have a laxative effect.
Aspartame (NutraSweet®& Equal®), Sucralose (Splenda®) and Saccharin (Sweet’N Low®) are terrible for the good bacteria in your digestive tract.
They're also horrible for you in a number of other ways so you'd be well advised to just avoid them..
Non-steroidal anti inflammatory drugs can be damaging to the lining of your stomach and intestines.
NSAIDs include common stuff like aspirin and ibuprofen, but also things like celecoxib (Celebrex) and naproxen (Aleve).
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is not considered an NSAID. It's much easier on the stomach and is still recommended for fevers under 102.
If you need anti-inflammatory meds for pain...I suggest CBD as an alternative.
I am not sure what the rules/laws are in your state but it works wonders for pain and inflammation.
They have even started making it in pill form. CBD has a ton of other health benefits.
Antibiotics kill bacteria - they are prescribed for bacterial infections - but antibiotics don't care too much whether it is good or bad bacteria.
So you should avoid taking unnecessary antibiotics (yeah, I know you all know this).
I have taken antibiotics, and I probably will be taking them again at some point because they are medically necessary sometimes but I will never take them if I don't have to or without a prescription.
Take them only when prescribed and even then you should talk with your doctor about the alternatives.
Things You Can Do to Improve Your Gut Health
Eat Healthy Fat
Oils you should avoid are basically all of the cheap oils in the grocery store because they are produced using high heat and solvents.
Oils to avoid are vegetable oil, canola oil, soy bean oil, corn oil, safflower oil and peanut oil (unless it's cold pressed).
Eat More Fiber
Fiber is a pre-biotic - it is food for the good bacteria - the bad bacteria prefers sugar.
If you want a delicious way to get all the pre-biotic fiber to feed the good bacteria in your gut flora here's a few great suggestions:
Bonus: when combined with enough healthy fat, fiber will keep you feeling full.
And while you can't digest dietary fiber your good gut bacteria loves it.
Eat Less Processed Food
Almost all processed food - even the stuff with healthy looking labels - contains a bunch of crap that is bad for the good bacteria in your guts.
Even processed food that is labeled "Keto" is full of the unhealthy fats that will inflame your digestive tract.
The chemicals in both the food and the packaging are anti-bacterial - that's how they can keep it on the store shelf for so long.
Along with other additives like sodium benzoate, MSG and artificial coloring, processed "food" is bad for you on many levels, but really bad for the good bacteria.
"Don't stress, you'll give yourself an ulcer."
Turns out that's true because stress damages the good bacteria in your guts that protect your stomach and intestine lining.
So relax - don't sweat the small stuff, and try to remember that it is almost all small stuff. (Ugh, I know it's a cliche ~ but for good reason).
Meditate, and get enough sleep and exercise and your guts will thank you.
A healthy low carb diet is a great way to maintain the microbiome in your digestive tract.
A healthy balance of bacteria in your guts will contribute overall health and make you feel good.
That's all For This Week,