It was Hippocrates who said, “All disease begins in the gut.”
As the father of medicine, Hippocrates knew what he was talking about. But what did he really mean?
Quite simply, we’re only as healthy as our gut. If our digestive system is unhealthy, then it’s fairly likely other bodily systems will be suffering as well. And this is true often not just humans but our dog’s and cat’s, too!
Your gut and your health
Did you know that around 70 per cent of the human immune system is in the gut? That’s right – the lining of our gut is home to almost three-quarters of the cells that make up our immune system. Which makes it really important to keep the gut healthy! The gut is made up of about 100 trillion bacteria known as the gut microbiota. This vast network of organisms ise directly linked to many health conditions – both mental and physical.
Gut microbiota: Why we need it and how to keep it healthyIntestinal flora plays a major role in digestive health for humans and animals alike. Certain strains of probiotics have been clinically proven to help promote good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract which is needed for healthy digestion. The millions of species of bacteria in our gut are needed for:
Keeping all that bacteria in check is a matter of ensuring the environment is right. Bacteria in the gut is only as healthy as what it feeds on. Eating fresh, whole foods in their natural form will provide all the right nutrients needed for the ‘good’ gut microbiota to thrive. Eating processed foods that are high in fat and sugar will feed ‘bad’ gut microbiota instead, which can lead to poor digestion, gas, and inflammation of the sensitive intestinal lining.
Feeding the gut: The importance of prebiotics and probiotics
Prebiotics: Prebiotics are ‘food’ for the good bacteria in your gut. They help maintain the health of your gastrointestinal flora by providing it with the nutrients it needs to grow. Foods containing prebiotics include soluble fibres, such as:
Probiotics: Probiotics are the “good” bacteria that live naturally in the digestive tract. They help the body to break down food, absorb nutrients, counteract bad gut bacteria and establish the ‘good’ bacteria needed for healthy digestion, immune support and overall wellbeing. Probiotic supplements are products or foods containing live bacteria that can boost the numbers of your own gastrointestinal bacteria. They can help to counteract bad gut bacteria and establish the ‘good’ bacteria needed for healthy digestion, immune support and overall wellbeing. The best probiotic supplements include guaranteed live bacteria and a variety of strains.
Foods rich in good probiotic bacteria include those that have been fermented, such as:
Can pets benefit from probiotics?
Absolutely! Animals need good bacteria just as much as we do. Probiotics can help to:
Improving Your Furbaby’s Digestion
Gas and bloating is a sign of bad bacteria in the gut, which causes food to ferment and give off gases. Fortunately, there are some simple tips to improve your dog or cat’s digestion.
The best foods for a healthy dog or cat
Bio: Katie Stone is a qualified naturopath and former journalist who now roams the world as a freelance writer. Having grown up on a dairy farm in New Zealand, Katie adores all animals – especially pigs! She is also passionate about natural healthcare for pets and believes good nutrition is as important for animals as it is for humans.
*Bernard and Kitty's Waggy Tales articles are for information purposes only and are neither intended as, nor should be substituted for professional advice, or the treatment or diagnosis of any health conditions. Information that is provided in this blog is intended for general knowledge: consult your veterinarian if you have questions about caring for your animal, or about your animal’s health or condition.
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