Feed Your Gut Healthy
There has been a lot of news lately about our microbiota, or what is commonly known as “gut bacteria.” Did you know that our intestines carry tens of trillions of 1,000 different species of bacteria? That’s about 8 pounds of bacteria!
Some of these microbes are beneficial to us because they help us break down food to release energy, produce vitamins, and protect us against germs. The amazing fact is that a vast amount of our immune cells live in our gut, representing about 70% of our immune system.
Researchers believe that disturbances in our intestinal micro-biome (the ecosystem of microbes) may play a role in multiple chronic diseases, including diabetes, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and many others.
Scientists have been studying the various ways our gut bacteria aid or damage our health. More research is necessary to pinpoint the exact inter-relationships between our diet, these microbes, and chronic disease, however, we do know that the bacteria are influenced by our diets and that they are modifiable, sometimes in a very short period of time. So, what does this mean for all of us? It means that the choices we make every day about the types of foods we eat will optimize our health and reduce our risk for chronic disease.
For example, researchers believe that the bacteria in our intestines feed on the fiber that we eat. If we don’t get enough fiber in our diet we will starve the good bacteria, which will disturb the balance of good versus bad microbes or will allow the bacteria to eat away at our intestinal lining. That can’t be a good thing!
Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are excellent sources of fiber. So feed your gut healthy and give those little guys the fuel they need to help you achieve good health and keep the bad guys from taking over!
Fruits and Vegetables High in Fiber:
- Apples (especially the skin)
- Dark colored vegetables like beets, carrots, broccoli, and spinach
- Beans: navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, lima, and pinto
- Nuts and seeds: sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, almonds, and popcorn.