By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern
As a kid, it always grossed me out to think that I had bacteria living in my stomach. It was even harder to grasp the concept of how a lot of those bacteria were actually GOOD. In my young mind, bacteria were those nasty little microscopic things that made you sick that mom always warned about. Those bad bacteria do exist, but there is also a whole other world of beneficial bacteria that play a vital role in our health.
Gut health is becoming an increasingly popular topic as more people realize just how much it impacts their overall health. The Cleveland Clinic reports that it can affect your immune system, your ability to manage your weight, and your susceptibility to chronic conditions.
Registered dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick suggests that people eat plenty of fiber, diversify the kinds of fruits and vegetables that make up their diets, and consume more probiotics to help keep the beneficial bacteria in their gut happy. She also notes that consuming high amounts of refined foods, fast food, or high amounts of added sugar can harm the bacteria living in our stomachs.
Turns out, the good bacteria that live in our guts are actually really important to our health. Too bad I didn’t realize that when I was younger!
For more information on gut health, and a few recipes for gut healthy foods, check out Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate blog!