8 Ways to support intestinal microbial balance and proper digestion

The body’s digestive system contains almost 100 trillion bacteria. The majority of these bacteria are found in your intestines and they can be both good and bad. Whilst some protect you against disease, others can actually lead to the development of disease. As such, supporting a positive intestinal microbial balance can help you to lead a healthier life. In this post, we will look at 8 to promote a good microbial balance and proper digestion.

8 science-backed ways improved digestion

A good microbial balance fosters proper digestion. Moreover, it can help prevent and/or ameliorate health conditions like heart disease, arthritis, and even cancer. Here, we outline 8 ways you can improve your natural microbial balance and support your good gut microbiota.

  1. Vegetables, fruits, and legumes are your friends

Everyone knows that fruit and vegetables are good for their health. When it comes to the bacteria in your gut, this is because of them being high in fiber. Fiber is great for digestion and also helps good bacteria grow. Legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and beans generally are also all high in fiber. 

Studies have shown that fiber is particularly good for preventing heart disease, chronic diseases, and colon cancers. However, it is always important to remember that no one supplement, mineral, or vitamin is a magic bullet cure for these things. Nevertheless, a high fiber diet full of vegetables, fruit, and legumes will be a vital component of a healthy digestive system and a healthy body and mind.

  1. Eat a wide range of foods

It can be tempting to look up the foods that are high in fiber and focus on getting as many of them into your system as possible. However, it is also important to eat a varied diet to foster a positive intestinal microbial balance. This is because the trillions of bacteria in your gut are varied and made up of different species. Different ones benefit from different nutrients.

You also want to encourage a diverse range of microbiota to thrive in your gut. This will lead to a healthier digestive system with a greater chance of overall health benefits. However, according to the IDRC, just 15 plant and 5 animal species account for 75% of the world’s food production. Rural areas tend to offer more diversity in the sorts of foods available whilst foraging also offers rewards here for added variety.

  1. Avoid artificial sweeteners

The Western diet is full of sugar which can be bad for bodily health and digestion. However,  simply replacing sugar with things like artificial sweeteners doesn’t solve the problem. Studies show they can change the composition of the intestinal microbiota. They can also actually have negative effects on people’s blood sugar levels. 

As such, whilst artificial sweeteners can be beneficial in terms of preventing weight gain, it is best to seek your sweetness elsewhere. Particularly if you want to promote a healthy microbial balance and proper digestion.

  1. Add fermented foods to your diet

Most people have probably heard someone mention the benefits of fermented foods. Indeed, whilst they can be a bit of an acquired taste, they are great for the gut. This is because they are full of microbes like Lactobacilli and Enterobacteriaceae. These bacteria have been shown to have digestive benefits and help to prevent inflammatory and chronic diseases.

Fermented foods that are high in beneficial microbes included things like sauerkraut, kimchi, sourdough, and tempeh. Natural yogurt and kefir are also a good source of these types of beneficial microbes. Kombucha tea can also be drunk with similar benefits.

  1. Take prebiotics, probiotics, and essential oils

Prebiotics are foods and supplements that encourage beneficial microbe growth. Probiotics are the beneficial microorganisms themselves. Essential oils are also designed to support intestinal balance and proper digestion. These things can be particularly important if you have had to take a course of antibiotics as these kill off many of the beneficial gut microbiota. These essential oils can also be used by people with a lactose intolerance.

The bacteria fostered by prebiotics can be beneficial for people with high cholesterol levels as well as people who are obese. The key is fostering the growth of bifidobacteria which is good for gut health and fosters proper digestion.

  1. Eat more whole grains

Whole grains are packed full of fiber which already makes them a winner when it comes to good digestive health. However, they are also full of something even better, known as non-digestible carbs. Doesn’t sound great at first, but their non-digestible nature means they get further through your body and into your large intestine. 

Once in the large intestine, they are broken down and promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. Studies have shown that this can reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases, reduce inflammation, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  1. Make sure you’re eating foods high in polyphenols

This bit of advice is the fun one as red wine is full of this stuff. Polyphenols can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and inflammation. They are also hard for the body to break down and make it even further than through the body than whole grains. Indeed, they don’t get broken down until they reach the colon where they promote good bacteria to grow.

As well as being found in red wine, there is more good news. They can also be found in cocoa, chocolate, grapes, almonds, blueberries, and green tea, amongst other things. If you suffer from health conditions brought on by inflammation, then try adding these into your diet.

  1. Cut out (or down on) meat

Whilst it is important to eat a varied diet meat actually encourages the growth of bad bacteria. As such, it is best to cut it out of your diet or reduce how much of it you consume if you prefer not to give it up altogether. Plant-based diets are naturally high in fiber too which makes it easier to foster the right sort of bacterial growth. 

A healthy intestinal microbial balance fosters good health and proper digestion. The tips above are simple ways to achieve this backed up by science. Follow as many of them as possible and you’ll soon notice the benefits and reap the rewards.


How much drinks per week is too much?

cocktail drinks on bar

How many drinks do you have in a week? While alcohol affects everyone differently, research has shown that there’s a specific number of drinks the average person can consume in a week before it becomes excessive. 

It’s not an easy science, though. Most studies show that 7 is the limit for the average woman while the number rises to 15 for the average man. Making matters even more confusing, guidelines for alcohol consumption vary widely. So, how much is too much? 

Alcohol Percentages

Many people think that a drink is a drink, but each type of alcohol has its own percentage of alcohol content within. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines one standard drink as equivalent to:

  • 12 fl. Oz. of 5% beer
  • 9 fl. Oz. of 7% malt liquor
  • 5 fl. Oz. of 12% table wine
  • 1.5 fl. Oz of 80 proof spirits (40% alcohol content)

As you can see, no two drinks are exactly the same. Each contributes to your blood-alcohol level in a different way, which is why excessive drinkers often find themselves in desperate need of a felony DUI attorney. This is especially true for liquor lovers. 

Men vs. Women

The recommended guidelines for men and women are different because their bodies metabolize alcohol in a drastically different way. Women typically have less body mass, less body water content, and higher liver to body mass ratio.  

Women will reach peak blood alcohol levels much faster and are often more vulnerable to organ damage from alcohol than men. That’s why their recommended weekly limit is much lower. In contrast, men are more likely to become alcohol dependent than suffer damage quickly. 

Other Factors

Other factors that affect how a person’s body processes alcohol may include body weight, medications, and whether or not a person is drinking on an empty stomach.  A higher body weight may result in a lower blood alcohol concentration. This happens when their body mass to alcohol ratio is higher. 

Medications may have adverse interactions when combined with alcohol, with some effects being unpredictable or even fatal. Then there’s food. Eating a meal before drinking alcohol may help slow down the body’s ability to process alcohol, which works to your benefit.

On an empty stomach, alcohol is absorbed faster and may also cause digestive problems. You’re also going to get drunker faster on an empty stomach. Before you know it, one random shot could cause you to start building your DUI defense in Santa Ana

The Effects of Over-Drinking

Whether you’re drinking too much on occasion or every week, there can be severe effects on the body from over-drinking. Over-drinking is known to cause damage to the liver and the pancreas.  Excess alcohol cannot be metabolized by the liver and may result in steatosis, liver inflammation, liver scarring, and fibrosis.  

The pancreas might react by producing toxic substances that lead to inflammation of the blood vessels that prevent proper digestion, a condition known as pancreatitis. Excessive drinking can also cause changes in coordination, the ability to think clearly, damage to the brain, and fluctuations in mood and behavior.  

Excessive drinking becomes an addiction when a person loses the ability to limit drinking, negatively impacting their life. They may see their performance at work slip, their relationships crumble, and their ability to think and act clearly dissolve. 

A person may find they have to drink more and more to get the same desired effects as tolerance rises. They may find it difficult or impossible to think about anything else, or may find themselves unable to function without a drink. If you or someone you know has developed a problem with drinking excessively, consult a physician or addiction specialist for help. 


How to Cut Back on Carbs: A Guide on Tasty Low-Carb Foods

Humans need carbohydrates to survive. Yet, we don’t need them in the huge quantities that we’re accustomed to.

This overindulgence in carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, is the reason why 34 million American citizens suffer from diabetes today.

Nowadays, people view low-carb diets as a way to combat both these health issues as well as prevent weight gain.

If you’re interested in following this type of diet, here’s how to cut back on carbs without compromising on taste.

Say Goodbye to Bread 

White bread’s a weakness for most people. While this convenient food is readily available and easy to eat, it’s also high in carbs and very little else.

Even nutritious bread, like rye bread, contains around 15 g of carbs per slice and little fiber. 

Whole grain bread also contains many useful minerals and vitamins, but you can get these health benefits from other low-carb foods too. Vegetables, nuts, and seeds are good alternatives to bread. 

Nowadays there’s a wide range of vegetable-based bread available too. Try sweet potato bread, cauliflower bread, or lettuce leaves in place of wraps.

Cut Out the Sugary Drinks

Soda and alcohol are the best examples of high carb drinks around but fruit juice is also high in a type of sugar called fructose.

Rather opt for iced tea or club soda with a slice of orange or lemon. These drinks are just as refreshing as their high-sugar counterparts. 

How to Cut Back on Carbs for Breakfast

Breakfast is the one area where we’re conditioned to load up with carbs. Most traditional breakfast foods are high in carbs.

Toast, pastries, pancakes, and waffles are the obvious culprits, but even small amounts of healthy foods like granola are often high in carbohydrates.

The answer lies in eggs. Each egg contains only 1 gram of carbs, yet they’re full of high-quality protein which helps you feel satisfied for hours.

In this way, an egg breakfast helps you avoid adding to the problem by preventing carb cravings throughout the day. 

Boiling or poaching is the best way to enjoy the benefits of eggs without adding any fats to the equation. 

Opt for Low-Carb Snacks

It’s difficult to stay away from snacks at parties or while relaxing in front of the TV.

The good news is that you don’t have to without when you’re dedicated to eating food with low carbs.

Ditch the chips and popcorn, and choose some of these high-fiber tasty alternatives instead:

  • Almonds 
  • Cheese
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia nuts 
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts

Be sure to keep ample supplies of these snack foods on hand to help you resist high-carb snacks when the craving strikes.

Use Sugar Alternatives

If you can’t go without sweetness in your warm beverages, there are plenty of alternatives to sugar.

Honey might seem like a good option but, like fruit, it’s full of fructose and glucose, which are carbs.

You can try some of these commercially-available alternatives instead:

  • Erythritol is a type of sugar alcohol that not only raises blood sugar in the same way sugar does, but it also kills bacteria and could help prevent cavities
  • Stevia’s a product of the stevia plant from South America and can help lower blood sugar while increasing insulin sensitivity 
  • Xylitol is another sugar alcohol which combats tooth decay, reduces insulin resistance, and guards against obesity

Remember, it’s best to wean yourself off sweeteners totally but these alternatives can help you make the break. 

Find Alternatives to Milk

Believe it or not, milk and all dairy products also contain sugar in the form of lactose. A small splash of milk in your coffee or tea won’t do much harm, but drinking it by the glass is a no-no.

Coconut and almond milk are good alternatives and often come pre-prepared with added vitamins and minerals for a healthy kick. These drinks contain very small amounts of carbs, but they’re mostly comprised of water.

Check the labels when buying coconut or almond milk. Some varieties have added sugar. 

Greek yogurt and cheese are good low-carb dairy products with all the health benefits of milk. 

What About Eating Out?

When you’re following a low-carb diet, you don’t need to forego meals out or convenient deliveries either. To get an idea of what’s available out there, check it out

Some restaurants also offer low-carb options, but it’s easy to choose menu items containing food with little carbs too. 

Most meat dishes come with a side of starchy carbohydrates, like French fries. Ask your server to bring vegetables instead. If your meal comes with vegetables and starch, ask for an extra vegetable serving instead of potato or rice. 

Alternatively, order a side salad and choose a dish with no starch on the side.

Avoid gravy and sauces, they’re usually high in sugar, cream, and fat.  

Avoid High-Carb Vegetables

While vegetables are generally a food with few carbs, there are a few you should avoid while you’re on a low-carb diet. 

Potatoes, rice, corn, squash, and peas are high in carbs. Instead, stick to vegetables like peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, cabbage, and green beans.

Vegetables are a vital source of minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants so you should never cut them out of your diet totally. 

Get Started on Your Low-Carb Journey

After a while, being conscious of how to cut back on carbs becomes second-nature. Take this article as a starting point in your learning curve towards a healthier, low-carb way of life.

There’s no reason to skimp on flavor, regardless of the diet you’re following.

Read some of our other posts for all the best advice on incorporating delicious, healthy eating into your life no matter what. 


Young People Have a Coveted Responsibility During COVID-19

Helen Lee Schifter has written about the need for more young people to gain an understanding and comprehension of what is at stake with the Coronavirus health pandemic and epidemic. Fortunately, it is indeed the case that younger people and the youth demographic altogether have less risk of suffering devastating and G-D forbid fatal consequences if they were to contract COVID-19. But they can still certainly expose others that are older and even elderly members of the population to the virus. This is the part that makes it especially reckless for any young person to not take this matter with the greatest care, caution and concern, possible.

Those health bloggers like Helen Lee Schifter have maintained that the need for awakening young people concerning what’s at stake is something that needed to happen yesterday. Unfortunately, the CDC, the WHO and other health bodies that have been responsible with managing this health crisis have not done an adequate job of enlightening the youth of this country and worldwide of the different risks associated with behaving in a reckless fashion in the face of the Coronavirus.

Shalom Lamm and other entrepreneurs have remarked that this a long overdue educational process that has to take place at the soonest possible time. There are many examples (as chronicled by some areas of the press) of young people partying and engaging socially even in the wake of the Coronavirus. This of course, is especially concerning for a whole litany of reasons.

But what people have to understand (and has to be communicated to young people), is that although they themselves may likely survive if they were to contract the Coronavirus, the risk of them exposing an older or even elderly person to the virus if they contract it , is substantial. For that reason, as Shalom Lamm has noted, it would be the height of irresponsibility for young people to behave and comport themselves on a daily basis as if this risk does not exist.

On the contrary, the youth of the nation and the world must comport themselves with the same level of responsibility and caution that people of all ages are exercising throughout this crisis. There is simply way too much on the line not only for them directly, but also for those that interact with them, and ultimately come into contact with them.

Any young person that continues leading their lives as if the Coronavirus is not a serious issue that’s plaguing society, should be held accountable and responsible. All young people should be obeying and complying with the social distancing protocols and other mandatory requirements to ensure the safety and overall preservation of health of society writ-large. We’ll all be better off that way.


“You Are What You Eat” is More Than a Cliche

Health experts like Helen Schifter have been trying their hardest to communicate to the masses the value of eating healthy and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For too long, there have been people dedicated to all sorts of different causes and passions many of which have been constructive, while neglecting one that might seem to be the most obvious. That one of course is health, wellness and ensuring that society is leading the healthiest type of lifestyles imaginable.

Helen Schifter has written about these issues in great detail on Thrive Global and other platforms that readers can scour and visit. This content is valuable information and has undoubtedly affected people in meaningful ways. Ultimately, the ability to convince members of the public of the value of health and wellness is the first objective of any health advocate and principal.

The ways in which to achieve these milestones is a totally different question to be considered. But let’s first examine the value of eating healthy and dispel some common myths that exist about maintaining a healthy diet. First and foremost, there’s an idea that exists out there which is a misconception, that somehow eating healthy must mean sacrificing the quality or taste of the foods one is eating.

This is a total myth that should be debunked once and for all. Secondly, there are so many different organic and healthy offerings across a variety of different cuisines. Whether one is interested in foods emanating from Italian, Middle Eastern, American or other types of cuisines, these cuisines all offer healthy options that are no less tasty and delicious than others.

So let’s be more adamant, careful and cautious about the types of foods we eat. Taste matters. But health should matter as well. In fact, it ought to be a priority in all of our lives. And for that reason, there must be a more careful approach to eating, amongst the general public.