Bacteria. A word that sends shivers down our spine. We have heard countless times how bacteria can cause harm, but have you heard about "friendly" bacteria yet? Yes, bacteria is not always a bad thing. Humans have more bacterial cells (a LOT more) than human cells. Bacteria live on the skin, in the nose and ears, and, most of all, in the gut.

Let's recap. Let me introduce you to THE GUT and the MICROBIOME.

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I know you have probably heard the term "gut" a trillion times, but do you really know all the functions your gut handles, and how important it is for your overall health?

Your gut is home to thousands of different species of microorganisms — including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes — collectively known as your gut microbiome

The microbiome consists of microbes that are both helpful and potentially harmful. Most are symbiotic (where both the human body and microbiota benefit) and some, in smaller numbers, promote disease. In a healthy body, both types of microbes coexist without problems. But if there is a disturbance in that balance—brought on by infectious illnesses, certain diets, or the prolonged use of antibiotics or other bacteria-destroying medications—dysbiosis occurs, stopping these normal interactions. As a result, the body may become more susceptible to disease. 

A healthy gut microbiome tends to include a wide range of different beneficial bacteria and it plays an important role in regulating your immune system so that it responds to injury or infection but doesn’t attack healthy body tissue. 

The secret to an enhanced immunity 

Though the organisms in the microbiome impact so many of our body functions, they are mostly located in our digestive tract, gut, genitals, mouth and nose. “Seventy percent of the immune system is located in the gut,” says David Heber, MD, PhD, professor emeritus of medicine at UCLA Health. 70 percent, that is no joke. 

The interactions between the gut microbiome and the immune system are complex and work in both directions. Just as the health of your immune system influences your gut health, your gut microbiome has a direct effect on your immune system.

When everything is running smoothly, the gut sends signals for the development of healthy immune function modulating immune responses. In exchange, the immune system helps to populate the microbiome with health-promoting microbes.

In other words, when these two are in good relations, the body is equipped to respond to pathogens and to tolerate harmless bacteria, preventing an autoimmune response and ensuring overall well-being. When your gut is out of balance, meaning not enough good friendly bacteria vs. the pathogenic, your whole body is affected.

Since the immune cells in the gut interact with the microbiome, and are directly influenced by an individual’s diet and lifestyle, the foods we eat affect the diversity and composition of bacteria in the gut, which in turn affect immune cells. So, yes, if you have reached to the conclusion that what you eat can strongly affect (in a good or bad way) your immunity, you are absolutely right.

How to get more "friendly bacteria" in and more "bad bacteria" out?

Every time we eat, our gut bacteria break down our food and use it to grow. Maintaining a balanced ratio of good to bad bacteria is crucial for our overall health and mostly to our immune system, and those friendly gut bugs are healthiest and support strong immunity when we consume plant foods that are high in fiber. A fiber-rich diet supports the microbiome and reduces inflammatory response.

Changing the way you eat can help with populating the microbiome with diverse "friendly" microbial cells.

Improving your diet by cutting out processed foods and including more prebiotic fiber can increase biodiversity because prebiotics feed and help thrive our beneficial microbiota. Fruits, vegetables and legumes are a great source of prebiotics that feed your “friendly” gut bacteria. Prebiotics can be found in foods such as:

  • asparagus

  • onions

  • leeks

  • garlic

  • legumes (like peas, green beans, chickpeas, and lentils)

  • whole grains

And don't forget probiotics. Probiotics are living microbes found in certain fermented foods that can have a positive effect on your health. They can help to regulate immune responses, including the functions of the gut lining, so having probiotic-rich foods such as kefir, sauerkraut, and also probiotics in supplement form may restore the composition and reintroduce strong microbes, allowing for a more efficient gut microbiome, immunity and cognitive abilities. 

Apple Cider Vinegar and Gut Health

Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is a superfood containing a huge variety of nutrients. It is made from exposing crushed apples (or apple cider) to yeast, which ferments the sugars and turns them into alcohol. In the second step, bacteria are added to the alcohol solution, which further ferment the alcohol and turn it into acetic acid (the main active compound in vinegar). That’s what gives vinegar its sour taste and strong smell.

ACV is known to be a great detoxifier, flushing out toxins in the body which leads to a better functioning body all around. It can also help kill pathogens, including bacteria. Apple Cider Vinegar has an alkalizing effect. This is due to how ACV is broken down and digested. Many viruses and bad bacteria are unable to live in an alkaline environment. This way, Apple Cider Vinegar can introduce more healthy and beneficial bacteria to your gut. This helps to enhance the health of your digestive system and add gut bacteria benefits like increased immunity and an improved ability to digest and absorb nutrients.

So don't forget, the best way to establish and maintain a healthy gut microbiome is to get enough sleep and exercise, eat healthy meals that include lots of fruits and vegetables, avoid chronic and excessive stress, and not to drink too much. 

And if you need an extra hand, check out our 100% Raw, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar Supplement. It contains the mother, which brings you the highest level of benefit possible compared to other more processed forms.

Our Organic Apple Cider Vinegar capsules with the mother contains the most potent strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria your body craves, and includes an extra dose of Probiotic strains that are specifically found to assist in weight management while helping with digestion, and Neem Leaf, a rich source of antioxidants.