The microorganisms residing in our gastrointestinal tract are gaining widespread recognition for their pivotal role, not only for supporting gut health, but in fostering overall wellbeing. The gut microbiome, as it's known, is associated with a broad spectrum of health matters.
What’s the microbiome?
The microbiome is our body's hidden ecosystem of good bacteria, it begins population from birth, shaped by genetics and environment.
- There are trillions of bugs in the gut microbiome, making up between 1-3% of the hosts body weight.
- The bugs in our gut are part of us. We need them and they need us – sounds like an amazing symbiotic relationship, right?
- Gut microbiome supports digestion, nutrient absorption, mental performance and a healthy immune response.
Beneficial balance alert
There are few common causes of imbalance of good and bad bacteria, resulting in an array of gut or other symptoms.
- Use of antibiotics
- Processed food
- Prolonged stress
- Lack of food variety in the daily diet
- Excess alcohol
- Environmental factors
Signs of dysbiosis
Understanding some of the most common signs of dysbiosis is essential to support better gut and digestive health. Those with gut symptoms might be familiar with the discomfort that might come with their unbalanced gut microbiome:
- Compromised digestion
- Abdominal discomfort
- Inconsistent, incomplete or uncomfortable bowel movement
Tips for daily digestion support
There are many daily habits that can be put in place to support your microbiome daily:
- Incorporate a variety of fibre-rich food into the daily diet (whole grains, legumes, vegetables)
- Consume prebiotic food like bananas, chia seeds, garlic and onions
- Consume fermented foods like yogurt, kefir pickles and kimchi
- Stay hydrated, drinking water to support digestive processes
- Limit processed foods, sugars and artificial additives
- Introduce resistant starch containing food such as cooked and cooled potatoes, kumara or rice
- Manage stress with mind-body exercise and relaxation techniques
Fungal and bacterial overgrowth
Fungal and bacterial overgrowth in the digestive system can have a negative impact on general health.
- Bacterial overgrowth of non-beneficial colonies and also fungal overgrowth (a common one being Candida albicans) can cause digestive discomfort, bloating, gas and impact levels of energy and focus.
Horopito's modern and traditional use
Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) or mountain horopito, is a small evergreen tree. It's commonly called New Zealand pepper tree or is also referred to with the common name of pepperwood as its leaves have a pungent, hot, peppery taste.
Horopito (Pseudowintera colorata) holds a special place in traditional Maāori Tradition. The Māori people have used this native New Zealand plant for centuries to support with various conditions including fungal imbalance.
Horopito and digestive health
Traditional use and modern knowledge align in recognising Horopito's potential as a support for the digestive system and a happy microbiome.
Horopito contains an active compound called polygodial, which supports balance of yeasts and fungi in the gut microbiome.