Feeding your microbiome

You may know the saying you are what you eat and this is literally the truth. Scientists working on the Human Microbiome Project have discovered the fact when comparing the amount of human cells to foreign microbial cells, they out number us by the trillions. This number is so large, scientists have worked out that we are only around 1% human! 

So what is a microbiome?   
Our microbiome is an ecosystem (think of a rainforest) of organisms, mainly concentrated in the gut or digestive system but also found in all over the body like under arms, mouth, vagina, skin. We tend to think of bacteria or foreign things in our body the root of disease or things that make us sick like food poisoning, skin infections, cold n flues, which is true and this generally comes when the unfavourable microbes outnumber the favourable and burden the immune system. But what we need to remember is that we are a host for organisms, generally living in a symbiotic culture with both favourable and unfavourable as long as they are in balance. Think again like a rain forest, you need the trees, animals, reptiles, insects, etc all in there to create a diversely rich ecosystem, poisonous or non poisonous, each play their part. Think about thrush or urinary tract infections, you know have an imbalance if these occur or even bad body odour.

Did you know that 90% of our immune system lies in the digestive system? So we usually find those with healthy diets, get sick less often. They also recover faster from illness. So literally when you feel like you are coming down with a 'cold', this is when you should eat immaculately, full of nutrients but so many of us feel terrible and thus eat terrible. Now you know that to improve your recovery, you need to eat a microbiome friendly diet (more on this soon..)

What researchers are finding is the possible (yes possible) links between most auto immune issues, cancers, illnesses, fertility, heart disease, weight gain and more is due to poor gut health. 
Many people don't even have symptoms like bloating, excess flatulence, smelly flatulence, abdominal pain, reflux, constipation or loose stools but may present symptoms of brain fog, tiredness/ fatigue, mood changes, sugar cravings, water retention, poor cognitive performance like memory all can be traced back to gut health. 
Leaky gut is a major issue where the unfavourable bacteria binds to the cell walls of your intestines and breaks the cell junctions apart, setting off an inflammatory immune response (think about redness around a mosquito bite) but enabling them and other foreign microbes into the blood stream causing a huge immune response. These microbes can also be transported and settle in other places of the body e.g. heart vessels and cause further inflammatory damage e.g. plaque build up in the arteries. 

So what can you do to protect your gut? 
1) Reduce inflammatory foods, especially refined oil (canola, soy, rice bran etc) , flours, sugars as this can change your gut bacteria and thus give rise to larger numbers of unfavourable bacteria. (yes now think about those sugar cravings!!)

2) Aim for healthy fats that support the integrity of the cell walls such as fish oils, salmon, tuna, olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds. 

3) Fiber- especially from leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables. Eat a variety of plant based carbohydrates like kumara, pumpkin, potato, butternut rather than wheat based like pasta. Organic grains like quinoa, brown rice, legumes but keep to only a couple times per week.

4) Aim to go gluten free where possible or invest in quality bread like sourdough or sprouted wheat. 

5) Avoid/reduce inflammatory drinks like diet sodas, full sugar sodas, alcohol, coffee with flavoured syrup etc. 

6) Add a 'green powder' to your smoothies or even porridge bowl as these contain excellent food for bacteria and are very soothing and alkalising for digestive tract if they have chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass, etc. Lifestream, Nuzest Good Green Stuff or Radiance is a couple of brands. 

7) Take a regular probiotic or eat fermented foods on a regular basis. We know now that probiotics are transient, meaning they come in, can help re colonise healthy bacteria or reduce number of unfavourable bacteria before moving on. They don't set up there own colonies hence regular intakes is important. Probiotic from capsules are helpful and easy (and a must if had course of antiobiotics in the last 2 years) otherwise you can maintain a healthy intake with foods like apple cider vinegar with 'the mother' each day in water or kombucha is a great way to start the day! 
You can have unsweetened yoghurt or kefir, or even adding kimchi or organic sauerkraut to your salads (they can be bought at most health food stores). Only 1-2 tablespoons is needed. 

8) Aim to eat free range eggs, meat, wild fish as they contain less antibiotics and have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids, zinc, and b vitamins. 

9) Herbs and spices can also be great to boost digestive health and flavour foods such as turmeric, paprika, ginger, coriander and coriander seeds, basil, oregano, thyme, cacoa/ cocoa.

10) Organic coffee in moderation and red wine in moderation- just a few times per week but green tea go for it! 

So now that you know you are just a 'host' of millions of microbes, think about your diet and lifestyle and how that may be affecting more than 'just you'. 

Go Top