The Gut Microbiome
The gut has trillions of microorganisms from three hundred up to a thousand different species (it varies from person to person). In Your Personal Paleo Code, Chris Kresser adds that “those microbes have one hundred times more genes than the human genome does.” Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg concluded: “Humans can be regarded as elaborate vessels evolved to permit the survival and propagation of microorganisms.” We are clearly more bacteria than human!
The gut microbiota (or gut flora) helps with normal gastrointestinal function and with protecting us from infections. Indeed, it is home to most of our immune cells and it helps regulate metabolism. Knowing that the gut microbiota is critical to our overall health and wellness, it is important to stay away from things that can disrupt it.
13 Ways to Help Protect Your Gut Microbiome
The following strategies are mentioned in Young and Slim for Life, by Dr. Frank Lipman:
- Avoid GMOs whenever possible – we simply don’t know enough about them.
- Keep away from sweet and starchy foods.
- Avoid junk food and processed food, as most have trans fats, GMO corn, GMO soy, or industrial seed oils.
- Keep away from gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and some other grains, as well as in soy sauce, seitan, beer, and a lot of packaged and processed foods.
- Steer clear of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
- Keep away from conventionally farmed meat, poultry, dairy products, and eggs as they likely contain antibiotics and hormones, and as they likely have been fed on GMO corn or soy.
- Whenever possible, avoid antibiotics, (NSAIDs, and other medications).
- Steer clear of artificial sweeteners.
- Drink filtered water. You can add water filters to your home taps, for instance. Also, there is the Aqua Tru countertop water purifier that I like to use.
- Consume fermented foods – kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, or other fermented vegetables. Fermented foods offer natural bacteria that help protect your gut microbiota.
- Consume prebiotics: foods that have the fiber on which friendly bacteria feed (like garlic, onions, radishes, leeks, asparagus, and Jerusalem artichokes).
- Find efficient ways to deal with stress.
- Get sufficient sleep.
Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut.” Many things can influence gut health, so we want to do our best to put into practice as many of the above strategies as possible, as a start. By choosing to eat a paleo/primal diet over 6 years ago, I got to eliminate the unwanted or suspect foods that can easily disrupt the gut microbiome. And as mentioned in My Paleo/Primal Eating Habits, I do not contemplate, even for a minute, going back to eating foods that are not beneficial to my health and wellness.
Until next time!
Kresser, Chris. Your Personal Paleo Code: The 3-Step Plan to Lose Weight, Reverse Disease, and Stay Fit and Healthy for Life. 1st ed., New York, NY, Little, Brown and Company, Dec. 2013, pp. 162-66.
Lipman, Frank. Young and Slim for Life : 10 Essential Steps to Achieve Total Vitality and Kick-Start Weight Loss That Lasts. Carlsbad, California, Hay House, Inc, 2016, pp. 33–42.
Mailing, Lucy, and PhD. “The Ultimate Quick-Start Guide to the Gut Microbiome.” Lucy Mailing, PhD, 11 Feb. 2020, http://www.lucymailing.com/the-ultimate-quick-start-guide-to-the-gut-microbiome/. Accessed 3 Sept. 2020.
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