Feeding your microbiome
The current rise of chronic health diseases can now be tied to the imbalances in our microbiome.
Rapid changes in our modern diet, excess use of antibiotics, processed foods and overly high carbohydrate consumption, decrease in natural plant food intake, increasing rates of C-section births and many more factors have created a recipe for our microbiota disruption and loss of our inner ecological diversity.
However, it is never too late to create a more congruent environment for your microbiome’s ecological success and improve your overall health by feeding your microbiome with prebiotics, probiotics and polyphenol rich foods.
Feeding your microbiome with ferments(pro-biotic rich foods)
Eating fermented or pro-biotic rich foods is an ancient secret to protecting health, as well as preserving foods. The traditional process of fermentation allows airborne bacteria to grow on food to prevent it from spoiling. When consumed, that same bacteria help to support the growth of a healthy population of bacteria/microbiota deep in our intestines.
Here is a list of fermented foods that you can include with each meal to boost digestion and support the good bacteria your gut needs.
1. Kefir – Fermented milk drink
2. Kombucha – Tangy fermented, black/green, tea
3. Miso – Fermented paste made from barley, rice or soybeans
4. Tempeh – Naturally fermented soybeans
5. Yogurt – Fermented milk
6. Aged cheeses
7. Fermented vegetables – Including sauerkraut and kimchi
8. Pickles – Fermented in salt
Ps: When it comes to ferments, remember that a little goes a long way. Start slowly at first and think of fermented food as a condiment and not a side dish.
Feeding your microbiome with resistant starches (pre-biotic rich foods)
Resistant starch is the essential nutrition for the bacteria in our colon. This type of starch resists digestion and travels through our mouth, stomach and small intestine without breaking down like other foods do.
Once resistant starches reach the colon, it is converted to short-chain fatty acids, one of which is called butyrate. It is a superfood for the colon, which helps to rebuild, repair and replenish it. Butyrate increases the population of good colon bacteria to ward off disease.
Some of the benefits of consuming resistant starches include
· Supports the repair and rebalance of digestive dysfunctions including IBS and IBD
· Improves insulin sensitivity for better blood sugar management
· Reduces the inflammation in the colon
… and more…
Foods which contain resistant starches include
· Legumes such as lentils and chickpeas
· Cooked and cooled potatoes or rice
· Raw oats and barley
· Green bananas
· Green plantains
· Nuts and seeds such as Cashews, Tigernuts
PS: If you suffer with bloating, please observe how you feel as you add foods containing resistant starch. Go slowly at first and build your way up.
Feeding your microbiome with polyphenol-rich foods
Polyphenols are naturally occurring compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, spices, tea and dark chocolate. They essentially act as prebiotics - food for our good bacteria, and have a symbiotic relationship with our gut bacteria.
Chemical constituents in this class of food travel through the small intestine largely undigested. The portion of the polyphenol-rich foods that make it to the colon are broken down by the gut bacteria into metabolites that increase the good bacteria and decrease the bad guys, helping to balance our inner ecology.
Polyphenol-rich foods include:
• flaxseed meal
• raw cacao
• red wine
• green tea