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A gutful of health: Getting your digestion right

This article is supplied by James Jensen, owner of GNC Townsville.

How much gut bacteria do you think you are carrying around on a day-to-day basis? Try about 1.5kg. That equates to trillions of tiny microbes. But why are they there and what are they doing?

If you eat a bad diet, you end up with bad gut bacteria, and these bugs send the wrong messages to the immune system”

New research has linked the Western diet to asthma, autism, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, emphysema, cancer, and more. The reason a healthy diet could be even more important than previously thought is because food affects the bacteria deep inside our guts. Recent research revelations are showing just how crucial these microscopic creatures are to our overall health. Scientific jargon aside – in a nutshell – if you eat a bad diet, you end up with bad gut bacteria, and these bugs send the wrong messages to the immune system. You could wind up sick… all different types of sick.

So what specifically is so wrong with our modern diet? While there were many variations of the Stone Age diet (especially depending on where you were living) all diets had a common theme: They were high in fibre and free from any processing.

The industrialisation of our food production and processing has meant that instead of eating upwards of 50g to 200g of fibre a day, the average adult is now consuming less than 20g of fibre per day.

“Needless to say, getting our gut health right is one of the foundations for whole body health”

The reason this is so bad for our gut is that our gut bacteria use fibre as food, so like any ecosystem, without a good food supply, the ecosystem suffers.

Needless to say, getting our gut health right is one of the foundations for whole body health. We need to ensure we have adequate fibre intake and even use a standardised probiotic preparation.

If you still need more convincing, try using a probiotic at night before you go to bed and see for yourself. Probiotics top-up the good bacteria in the gut and can literally unlock a whole another level of health for you. They aren’t just for those with digestive problems and could very well be the answer to curing many diseases in the future – watch this space.

With over 150 different known and studied strains, choosing the right probiotic for you can be a real task which is why seeking help from a qualified consultant is essential. Apologies to the yoghurt fans out there, but – unfortunately – yoghurts very rarely carry enough probiotics to have a pronounced effect on your health, nor can you guarantee how much you’re getting with each mouthful.

Please note: The information provided is general in nature and should not substitute any health or medical advice. Please consult a qualified professional to assist with any specific conditions or queries. You know the drill ;)

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James Jensen

James Jensen

As a pharmacist, James is gobsmacked by how Townsville is seemingly is undergoing a health boom, yet the rates of obesity and related illnesses still continue to climb. His discussions with patients led him to discover that people didn't understand their health and they were increasingly confused by the fad diets and cures pedalled on social media. It was this confusion that led him to opening GNC Townsville at the Willows Shopping Centre. From here, James and his team give scientific advice and help people with their health goals. "Very rarely do pharmaceutical or Western therapies cross paths with the more 'natural' approach, which places me in a unique position to be able to bridge that divide and help people 'both sides of the fence'," says James.

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