Tips to Boost Your Gut Microbiome
Your gut microbiome is made up of a community of trillions of bacteria and fungi in your gastrointestinal tract. Gut health, more specifically, the health of your microbiome, plays a super important role in your well-being by helping to control your metabolism, sleep, mood, appetite, digestion, and immune system.
An imbalance of microbes in your gut may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other illnesses.
Studies show that the richer and more diverse the community of gut microbes are, the lower your risk of disease and allergies. This has been shown in animal tests and also in human studies comparing the microbes of people with and without particular diseases.
Here are some tips to restore healthy gut flora, increase the good bacteria in your body and give your microbiome a boost:
Make Sure to Get Enough Fiber, Fiber and Still More Fiber
According to the New York Times, the fiber we eat feeds billions of bacteria in our guts. Keeping them happy means our intestines and immune systems remain in good working order.
Recent studies show that diets high in fiber have a direct impact on the health of our gut microbiome, and help our bodies to fight diabetes, and regulate blood sugar and our appetite.
High fiber foods include: artichokes, peas, raspberries, avocados, pears, brown rice, prunes, oatmeal, edamame, flax seed, corn, cauliflower, popcorn, blackberries, oatmeal, brocolli, lentils and black beans.
Eat Lots of Fruits & Veggies
A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other high-fiber, plant-based foods improves gut bacteria diversity within two weeks, according to research published in Nutrients. Diversity and variety is important, as the varied nutrition from different fruits and vegetables help to keep the gut microbiome flourishing.
Consume Fermented Foods
Fermented foods and beverages are made by microbial organisms and enzymatic conversions of the ingredients. There is strong evidence showing positive impact to general health as a result of consuming certain fermented foods that have been produced using microorganisms. Examples of fermented foods include kimchi, kombucha, olives, pickled beets, pickles, sauerkraut and miso.
Eat Prebiotics and Probiotics
Prebiotics are carbohydrates that feed the good bacteria residing in our guts. Probiotics are live organisms that provide health benefits when taken in sufficient amounts.
Probiotic rich foods are things like yogurt, sourdough bread, kefir, and the fermented foods listed above.
Prebiotics are foods rich in fiber.
Cut All Antibiotics
Unless absolutely necessary, avoid antibiotics to preserve the health of your gut microbiome. Anything that disrupts the balance of microorganisms, such as antibiotics, which can kill both “good” and “bad” bacteria, has the potential to cause disease. Data from a 2016 study suggest that exposure to antibiotics in infancy can alter the gut microbiome and weaken the immune response for years to come.
Eat Wholesome, Nutrient Dense Foods
Diets high in sugar have been shown to decrease microbiome diversity within a week! Avoid eating processed foods, and like I always say, avoid the Harmful Seven ingredients (if you’re not familiar with the Harmful Seven, read my previous blog post Top Ingredients to Avoid). Diets high in complex carbs, fiber, whole grains, and plant foods are a sure way to provide your microbiome with the variety needed for it to thrive.
A recent article in Experience Life magazine had great information on superfoods: “A superfood is any food that’s giving you more than just basic nutrients and fiber” says Colorado-based integrative practitioner Robert Rountree, MD.
Terry Wahls, MD, a functional physician based in Iowa also encourages eating super foods – “Your goal is to have a wide diversity of foods that you’re eating — the highest quality you can financially manage. All that information helps add to the diversity of the microbiome and to a more healthful expression of our genes.”
Examples of superfoods include: matcha, maca root, reishi, MCT oil, hemp, flaxseed, and chia seeds
The goal is to have a wide diversity of foods — the highest quality you can financially manage. This helps add to the diversity of the microbiome.
Take L-Glutamine Supplements
L-glutamine is the most abundant, naturally-occurring amino acid in the human body. Amino acids are important because they provide fuel to white blood cells, help build and repair muscle, support the immune system and metabolize proteins from our food.
Certain foods such as seafood, poultry, fish, meat, lentils, peas, beans and cabbage are high in L-glutamine. However, taking it a a supplement can deliver a large boost to your system.
When it comes to the microbiome, studies indicate that L-glutamine can positively affect the immune response, help heal the intestinal wall (reducing gut permeability), and help balance intestinal microflora.
Happy Gut, Healthy Body
Taking care of your gut microbiome means you’re taking care of your health! More and more research is coming out focusing on the importance of a healthy and thriving microbiome for our overall well-being. Below is a gut healthy grocery list to help you remember the top foods for your gut.
If you’ve already started focusing on your gut health and have noticed positive impacts, I’d LOVE to hear your story! Please send me an email, leave a comment or use the contact form and share your experience with me.