Every person on the planet has a unique microbiome. Sometimes, health experts refer to the microbiome as a genetic footprint, because it can determine DNA, hereditary factors, body weight, and much more. In recent years, digestive health, specifically the microbiome, has become a highly researched subject. The reason for this is because researchers recognize how the foods in the common Western diet negatively affect the body. Giving the body foods that nourish gut microbiota should be everyone’s goal, and we’re going to explain why in this article.
What Is The Microbiome?
The human gastrointestinal microbiome is an entire system of microorganisms that exist in the digestive system. Often referred to as gut flora, the gut, or intestinal flora, the microbiome plays an integral role in maintaining overall health. In order to experience this benefit, you have to nourish the gut with foods that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria. An overabundance of harmful bacteria in the gut can lead to numerous health conditions. Tipping the scales in favor of more beneficial bacteria in the gut can lead to better immune function, faster metabolism, and a reduced risk of chronic inflammation.
The microbiome is by no means easy to understand. It’s a far-reaching ecosystem that operates on a microscopic level. It contains trillions of organisms that have very specific roles in the body. Research shows that an unhealthy microbiome (too many unhealthy bacteria in the gut) can lead to the development of autoimmune disorders, leaky gut syndrome, dementia, heart disease, cancer, and more. Each person builds their own microbiome, which means that it’s possible to reverse the damage that’s been done over the years. Change the way you eat, get more sleep, reduce stress levels, and exercise regularly to improve your microbiome.
The Microbiome Diet
Diet, more than anything else, plays the biggest role in establishing a healthy microbiome. If you are familiar with gut health, you understand the importance of probiotics and prebiotics. The former are beneficial bacteria that improve gut health, while the latter provide nourishment for probiotics. These are not simply “buzz words” that without meaning; rather, both are necessary if you want to maintain a balanced ecosystem in the digestive system. According to research, changing your diet in the slightest can create an imbalanced microbiome, throwing the entire system out of whack. This can lead to weight gain or slow metabolism. On the other hand, eating foods that nourish the gut can make weight loss easier. Additionally, another animal study found that transplanting gut microbiota from fat mice to lean, germ-free mice led to a rapid increase in body fat without eating additional food. Gut bacteria influences hormone production, nutrient extraction, and fat storage. This is why feeding the gut the correct foods is such a popular health topic.
How The Microbiome Diet Works
A diet that is rich in processed foods, fat, sugar, artificial flavors & colors, and refined carbohydrates is horrific for the gut. All of these foods make it easier for harmful bacteria and pathogens to grow in the gut, messing with the healthy ecosystem. In order to repair the gut, you have to first practice the four R’s:
- Remove: If you want to repair your gut, you have to remove processed foods, added sugars, hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide foods from your diet.
- Repair: In order to repair the gut wall, you have to consume more plant-based foods and supplements that work to nourish the gut.
- Replace: This step requires you to replace your stomach acid and digestive enzymes with higher quality substances. This means you should eat herbs, spices, and take natural supplements for optimal digestive health.
- Reinoculate: Load up on foods with high probiotic and prebiotic content in order to replenish the gut with healthy bacteria.
This is a very restrictive process, but it is necessary if you want to establish a healthier microbiome. This is the first phase and it should take 21 days. Try your best to focus on probiotic-rich foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and foods that contain prebiotics.
Phase 2: The Metabolic Boost
After the first 21-day phase where you employ the four R’s (listed above), the gut begins its healing process. Inflammation should theoretically go down and beneficial bacteria should be present. During the second phase, you should still avoid gut-damaging foods. You can add more foods back to your diet, some of which include legumes, sweet potatoes/yams, gluten-free grains, and kefir, goat’s milk, or sheep’s milk.
Phase 3: The Lifetime Tune-Up
The gut should be healed by now. Yay! This is essential the maintenance phase of the gut healing process. You can add more foods back to your diet, but continue to pay attention to the way the body reacts to foods that you add back into rotation. If you eat damaging foods, the body will let you know via symptoms that seem abnormal.