There are literally trillions of bacteria in our digestive tracts. They make up what is called the microflora, because under a microscope they look like little (micro) flowers (flora). We refer to it collectively as our microbiome and they play an unbelievable role in synthesizing vitamins, producing natural antibiotics and degrading and eliminating toxins. There are more of them in our bodies than human cells.
Think about it, we are walking around harboring and supporting this microbiome, an entire ecosystem within us.
Recent science has taught us that the microbiome also dictates aspects of who we are – our personalities, what diseases we will get, our mood, the size of our girth. Most of us are oblivious to it, we pay no attention to it at all except for to take a probiotic, until it hurts.
Internally we are 98.6 degrees, very moist and we have a tube that runs through us that is 30 feet long that has an opening on each end (the mouth and the anus). This internal environment is the perfect breeding ground for microbes – both good and bad.
Outside, external, influences often upset the balance. How we control the external influences determines the delicate balance of good and bad players. It is up to us – we must care for them, it is critical to good health and requires more than a probiotic.
Factors That Affect the Microbiome:
Stress, the food we eat, genetics, how much time we spend outdoors, if the windows of our homes are open or closed, our exposure to animals, toxin and chemical exposure, antibiotic use throughout our lives, how we were born — C-section or vaginally — whether we were breast-fed, how often we bathe – all affect our microbiome.
For most of us, our guts are a mess. We have created a microbiome that looks very different from what nature intended for each of us. So how do we get back to the farm?
Increase These Foods to Support your Microbiome :
- Eat a rainbow of colorful vegetables and some fruit every day. They will provide fermentable fibers that feed our healthy flora.
- Include coconut products like coconut oil, milk, yogurt and kefir. Coconut is filled with medium chain triglycerides which feed the cells lining our intestines, and has yeast-killing properties.
- Include Ghee, which is clarified butter. Ghee is filled with butyrate, a critically-important fatty acid for the care and feeding of cells in our colon.
- Eat organic, non-GMO These foods are low in pesticides and have not been genetically modified, which can alter your flora and damage you intestinal lining, causing leaky gut.
- Include healthy anti-inflammatory oils like fish, flax, olive oil.
- Choose grass-fed, pasture-raised, or free-range organic animals when possible. This will limit the hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides that we are expose our microbes to when eating animals raised in typical feed lots. Also, the meat from grass fed animals have higher quality, anti-inflammatory fats than corn fed animals.
It is Equally Important to Remove These Foods:
- Processed food high in sugar, white flour, baked goods, food dyes and preservatives. These foods and chemicals promote the growth of the wrong kind of bacteria in our gut. Eating this way should be a permanent change. This includes fruit juices, dried fruit, and all added sugar or artificial sweeteners except stevia.
- Gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs and peanuts because these foods are the most common triggers for reflux, constipation and abdominal discomfort, as well as other non-gut related symptoms.
- Foods high in histamines: Shellfish, processed or smoked meats and sausages, wine. Many people are affected by histamine intolerance, caused by the body’s inability to break down histamine in the gut causing crazy allergy reactions. Reactions to histamines can look like allergic reactions, including nasal congestion as well as headaches, dizziness and digestive discomfort.
- All alcohol
Live in our neighborhood? If you’d like to heal your, consider joining my HealMyGut 30-Day Program on Tuesday, April 17th at either 10am or 6pm Blum Center for Health. To learn more or enroll, Click Here.
Don’t live near Blum Center? Try our online HealMyGut program that includes daily email support, a private Facebook group, and weekly live one-hour coaching calls.
About Mary: Mary Gocke, Director of Nutrition at Blum Center for Health, has been successfully using food and nutrition science to treat and heal people with chronic illnesses and acute conditions for over 25 years. When Mary’s not helping people feel better through nutrition, this mother of two grown children can be found practicing yoga, which she has taught for years, or in her kitchen cooking something colorful.