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Good Bacteria vs Bad Bacteria

Good vs bad bacteria

Good vs bad bacteria


Good Bacteria vs Bad Bacteria

When some people hear the word “bacteria”, their minds often jump straight to things negatively associated with bacteria like germs, disease, and illnesses. Bacteria, however, is just a type of microorganism and can be found practically everywhere. 

It is estimated that there may be at least a billion different species of bacteria on the planet – some experts think it numbers in the trillions. Bacteria can be found from the top of the highest mountain to the bottom of the deepest part of the ocean; even the human body is full of bacteria! In fact, according to BBC Science Focus, there are more bacterial cells in our bodies than there are human cells.

While many people associate bacteria with illnesses and disease, not all bacteria is bad. There are many types of bacteria that are beneficial, and many that are even considered necessary for our bodies to function properly and play an important role in maintaining a healthy body.

Good Bacteria

Good bacteria come in many different forms, some are known as beneficial bacteria, probiotics, or gut microbes, and these are the kinds of bacteria that help to maintain a healthy balance within the microbiome in our bodies. You may have heard of some species of good bacteria such as probiotic bacteria like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, which are both found in Ohso Chocolate Bars! These good bacteria can be found in various areas of our body, on our skin, in our digestive systems and colon, and in a female’s vagina. They all play a crucial role in supporting our overall health and wellbeing.

Good bacteria and the gastrointestinal tract (GI)

Probably the most well-known benefit of good bacteria within the human body is the influence they have on our digestive health. Around 80% of the total bacteria within your body are located in the large intestine, where trillions of microorganisms live. Of those trillions of bacteria, only around 10-20% of those will be the same bacteria that anyone else has, according to BBC Future, making your microbiome unique to you.

The bacteria that lives in our gut, or gut microbes, help our bodies with processing food, like fruits, vegetables, and meats, by breaking it down and making it easier to process, absorb, and use the nutrients present in the food we consume. It is important, however, to ensure that we are eating the right foods to help keep a healthy balance of bacteria in our gut and prevent digestive issues like excess gas, bloating, and constipation. 

Good bacteria and the immune system

The good bacteria in your body also plays an important role in supporting your immune system. By helping to stimulate the production of antibodies, good bacteria help our immune system fight off infections and diseases. Studies have shown that if we have higher levels of good bacteria in our human microbiome, with a good variety and balance of species, we have a stronger immune system, making us less susceptible to illness.

Good bacteria and mental health

Good bacteria doesn’t just provide physical benefits. Research has shown that if we have plenty of good bacteria and our microbiome is well balanced, it can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and even help improve cognitive function! 

Bad Bacteria

Bad bacteria is mostly precisely what people tend to think of when bacteria is mentioned; harmful bacteria or pathogenic bacteria are the types of bacteria that can cause sickness or disease. These types of bacteria are often associated with infections but can still be found in various parts of our body like the skin, mouth, and digestive system.

Examples of bad bacteria include Salmonella, E. coli, and Staphylococcus aureus and they can cause a whole array of illnesses, from relatively minor infections like a urinary tract infection right through to far more serious illnesses like meningitis or pneumonia.

How does bad bacteria enter the body?

Harmful bacteria can get into our systems in a variety of ways. They can enter our bodies through contaminated food or water, via contact with someone else who is infected, or by exposure to contaminated surfaces.

How to protect yourself against bad bacteria

The good thing is that, whilst it is virtually impossible to protect yourself against all forms of bad bacteria or contamination, by following some simple, common sense steps, you can help prevent the spread of bad bacteria. It is important to practise good hygiene by washing regularly and properly, by washing your hands regularly with soap and water, and by cleaning the surfaces appropriately in your home and place of work. 

The impact bad bacteria has on your health can vary greatly depending on the type of bacteria and the severity of the infection. Most forms of bacterial infection can be treated by modern medicine, such as antibiotics, but in some cases it can lead to serious health complications and can even be deadly.

However, it is also important to bear in mind that coming into contact with some bad bacteria is good for us, so there’s no need to go overboard with the cleaning.

The balance between good bacteria and bad bacteria

While good and bad bacteria can both impact our health in different ways, it is important to remember that they are actually both necessary for a healthy body that functions properly. Research has shown that without bad bacteria, a weaker immune system develops, making it harder to fight off illnesses and infections, so it is important to take a certain amount of bad with the good. Maintaining a healthy balance of a wide variety of bacteria in our microbiome, but with good bacteria outweighing the bad, is key.

Many variables can have an impact on the bacterial balance in our bodies – diet, lifestyle, or even environmental factors. Eating a balanced diet, rich in fibre and containing fermented foods, along with a helping hand in the form of a regular delivery of live cultures encapsulated in delicious chocolate, can help support your gut bacteria. Avoiding processed foods with lots of sugar content will help prevent the growth of bad bacteria.

Other factors that may negatively affect the balance of bacteria in your microbiome could include high stress levels, lack of sleep, smoking, and lack of exercise. So, taking steps to manage stress, get enough sleep, and exercise more, in addition to eating a healthy and balanced diet, can all help support a healthy, balanced, bacteria microbiome in your body.

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The gut and the immune system connection

gut and immunity

gut and immunity

Your gastrointestinal tract, or gut, is a vital system that plays a significant role in biological processes within your body, and essentially encompasses your whole digestive system, from the mouth on down. The gut is home to trillions of microorganisms, collectively known as the gut microbiota, which play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy gut and immune system. The combination of these microbiota and their environment within the gut are referred to as the gut microbiome.

Microbiome Immunity

That’s a term you’re probably more familiar with. As well as processing food for energy and essential nutrients, the gut microbiome plays a significant role in regulating immune response. When harmful pathogens (harmful bacteria or viruses) enter the body, immune cells like T cells and B cells are activated to neutralise the threat. The gut microbiota plays a crucial role in modulating this immune response, so there’s an important relationship between the gut microbiome and the immune system. It’s generally accepted that microbiome immunity and good health are closely linked.

The gut microbiome communicates constantly with the immune system through various different mechanisms. Cells lining the gut known as epithelial cells maintain the integrity of the gut barrier, preventing certain pathogens from being absorbed. The gut microbiome supports the function of these epithelial cells, promoting a healthy and effective gut barrier. Signalling molecules called metabolites are also produced by the microbiome, and these modulate and control immune responses. These molecules can do things like activate T or B cells, or inhibit the release of proteins like cytokines, which can cause inflammation and damage otherwise healthy tissues.

How do I support a healthy gut microbiome?

A healthy gut microbiome generally has a diverse population of beneficial bacteria. Foods loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, can disrupt the composition of the gut microbiome and lead to the overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This can result in chronic inflammation, and the development of unwanted health conditions.

So it’s pretty obvious that supporting a healthy gut microbiome is crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system. Consuming a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help promote a healthy gut microbiome. In addition, consuming probiotics, such as those found in fermented foods like yoghurt and sauerkraut, can help support a healthy gut microbiome. As good as they are in promoting gut health though, those foods aren’t for everyone, and can be a bit of an acquired taste. Oh well… no pain no gain…

Live Cultures and Good Gut Health

That’s where chocolate comes in. Chocolate is not only a delicious, popular food stuff, with some pretty incredible benefits of its own — packed with flavonoids that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties — but it’s also a terrific vehicle for delivering live cultures to the gut. It’s actually around three times more effective at doing this than dairy products such as yoghurt drinks, and… well… It’s chocolate. Need we say more?

Your daily bars of ohso-good, luxury Belgian chocolate are not only incredibly tasty, with a variety of cocoa content, and a range of delicious flavours, they’re also a brilliant way of making sure that you’re working towards a better balance in your gut microbiome, and helping your immune system to function correctly too. The small, perfectly-formed bars are tailor-made for making sure that your gut microbiome is balanced when you’re busy and on the go. You might not be able to pick up fermented foods everywhere you travel, and some people might not appreciate you opening your sauerkraut at the gym.

Get some ohso-good chocolate

So getting your regular intake of ohso ticks lots of boxes on your everyday health checklist; you get to have a daily bar of chocolate for one thing and that’s a big feel-good plus right there, but you’ll also be getting those important live cultures that you need to maintain your gut-health – an essential step in promoting a healthy immune response and great overall long-term health.




Lucy Whigham

Most of us are aware that the bacteria in our gut are important for digestion of nutrients but did you know that the gut makes up 80% of immune system?

Not only does it provide a physical barrier to the daily onslaught of pathogens (AKA nasty bugs) it’s exposed to, it also plays a pivotal role in orchestrating whole body immune responses. Science is uncovering that the huge number of bacteria in our gut, otherwise known as our microflora, play a vital role in specific immune responses by communicating with the rest of our immune system and then ‘listening’ to the response . It seems that the type and balance of our gut bacteria not only regulate our local intestinal immune system but also have a profound influence on our systemic (whole body) immune system and plays a crucial role in shaping our susceptibility to bugs – incredible huh?!

Research has already uncovered a link between our gut microflora and autoimmune diseases such as coeliac and crohn’s disease and now the list is growing with disruption of gut bacteria being associated with obesity, depression, allergies and asthma.

So how can we look after our gastrointestinal driven immune system? It remains to be seen if a multi-strain probiotic could play a role in improving our immune function, but it is a rapidly evolving area of research. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if in the future we had enough knowledge of our own individual microbiome (make up of bacteria) that we could take specifically tailored probiotics to achieve optimum function of our own gut microflora?

But until we know more about our individual microbiome make up and understand in more depth this intricate dance between our thousands of gut bacteria and our immune system it makes good sense to take general steps to look after the friendly bacteria residing in our gut…..

Include lots of non-digestible carbohydrates (i.e. wholegrains) in your diet which have been shown to improve the diversity of gut bacteria

Try to manage your stress levels….high stress levels are linked to decreased diversity of bacteria

High fibre, plant based foods will increase the productions of anti-inflammatory short chain fatty acids by gut bacteria

Add to your diet products containing prebiotics such as inulin and FOS which can help the friendly bacteria flourish

Include a daily multi strain probiotic to your diet

Living with IBS

Through research, I have learnt that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects around a third of the population at some point in their lives. I, for one, belong within this third – having suffered uncomfortable and often disabling symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhoea and constipation from a very young age.

Through the years, I learnt that there wasn’t much help, medication wise, for IBS sufferers and that the first line of treatment includes general measures such as obtaining an education around IBS and implementing lifestyle changes which may be associated with the symptoms.

On personal account, along with a healthy and balanced diet, I have found the consumption of probiotics to prompt healthy digestion and therefore massively reduce the outlining symptoms of my IBS.

There are so, SO many benefits of taking probiotics (lists of which are easily located with a web search) and, like many, I always looked to yoghurt and other dairy products to get my probiotics intake… Until I came across ohso!

ohso good chocolate delivers these friendly live cultures, which hugely improve my symptoms of IBS, three times more effectively than dairy products… And, in my opinion (to which I’m sure many will agree), chocolate is three times tastier, more exciting and more satisfying than any dairy product/supplement that deliver probiotics. It’s a win, win!!!

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