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Get A Better Gut: Foods That Boost + Habits That Harms Your Gut

Foods and drugs affect the bacteria in your gut, but not always in predictable ways. Recent studies have revealed a few (pleasant?) surprises.

Remember when we hated germs?

Now doctors are writing books that tell parents to regularly feed their kids actual dirt and also to get a dog when they have a baby because the new vogue is: microbiome diversity.

On this trend, I agree. The more the merrier, when it comes to bug diversity in your gut. I get it and I'm all about it. Your microbes not only provide you with essential energy sources and vitamins you can’t make yourself, they also speak directly to your immune system , your brain and even your genes. You really can’t live without them.

A research was published in Science , one of the premiere medical journals in the world. Specifically, two large studies – the Flemish Gut Flora Project (one of the largest population-wide studies on gut flora) and the LifeLines DEEP project. Both looked for factors that affect the hundreds of microbial species living in the average person’s digestive tract.

Foods that boost your bugs:

  • Fruit and vegetables

  • Yogurt

  • Coffee

  • Tea

  • Red wine

Habits that hurt:

  • A high-calorie diet

  • A high-carbohydrate diet

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages

  • Frequent snacks

  • Whole milk

Interestingly, but not surprising to me, medications had the biggest influence of all, more than any food. Antibiotics, metformin (a common diabetes drug) and proton-pump inhibitors (commonly taken for heartburn) were all linked to lower gut microbiome diversity.

What can you do for your microbiome today?

1. Take a proven probiotic

Probiotics are live microorganisms, usually bacteria, that provide a specific health benefit when consumed. Probiotics don’t permanently colonize the intestines in most cases. However, they may benefit your health by changing the overall composition of the microbiome and supporting your metabolism. You can increase your intake of probiotics by consuming more probiotic-rich foods, including fermented foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt.

Alternatively, you can consider using a probiotic supplement. However, be sure to talk with your doctor before starting supplementation, especially if you are taking other medications or have any underlying health conditions.

2. Eat more fermented foods and pre-biotics (what your microbes feast on)

You know the list – kimchi, kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh and pre-biotic fibrous foods.

Many of these foods are rich in lactobacilli, a type of bacteria that can benefit your health. Consumption of prebiotics is believed to be connected to a better immune system and may also help reduce inflammation.

3. Avoid Antibiotics

If probiotics are your gut’s best friend, then Antibiotics are your gut’s worst enemy!

Antibiotics work buy wiping out any and all bacteria, which makes them very effective for treating illnesses, but very bad for your microbiome. The antibiotic cannot recognize the difference between good gut bacteria and bad bacteria. They work on a ‘kill now ask questions later’ model.if you do have to take an antibiotic to treat a virus, make sure to take a probiotic daily for the duration of your prescription to help replenish your gut bacteria.

The bottom line

Your gut bacteria are extremely important for many aspects of health. Many studies have now shown that a disrupted microbiome can lead to numerous chronic diseases.

The best way to maintain a healthy microbiome is to eat a range of fresh, whole foods, mainly from plant sources like fruits, veggies, legumes, beans, and whole grains.

Are you ready to take charge of your health? With my "Back to the Roots" program we will work together to manage conditions such as inflammation, fatigue, hormonal imbalance and more. I'll coach and guide you step-by-step to help you reach your goals in a healthy and sustainable way based on your individual needs. Schedule your first appointment.

You know the motto: More Action, Less Blablablabla.



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